Offshores and real estate in Crimea: Zelenskyi’s Commissioner in the SBU becomes “new Semochko” for the President

The wife of Roman Semenchenko, the Presidential Commissioner for Control over Activities of the Security Service of Ukraine, succeeded in business while her husband has been working in the SBU. She also became the owner of apartments in the occupied Crimea. Analysts of Pep.org.ua project learned about it.

In October last year, Volodymyr Zelenskyi appointed Roman Semenchenko, official of the Security Service of Yanukovych era, as Commissioner in the SBU. The President was not alarmed by assets of Semenchenko’s family, expensive real estate of the SBU’s official, or doubtful business connections.

We were able to find out that prior to appointment by Zelenskyi Semenchenko had the stake in Financial Company Tolkfin, which is the subject of the criminal proceeding regarding tax evasion and abuse of office. The co-founder of the company is Pavlo Zhytskyi, the subject of Onyshchenko’s “gas case“. The latter pleaded guilty and, according to plea bargain with the prosecutor, was sentenced to 5 years of inprisonment with the probation period of 3 years.

Another co-owner is Yevgen Astion. The son-in-law of former assistant to the Mayor of Dnipro Borys Filatov, former head of the power unit of the group of companies Pryvat Mykhailo Koshlyak. By the way, both Astion and Koshlyak are business partners of Semenchenko’s wife today.

Semenchenko himself did not mention any stake in the above-mentioned company Tolkfin in declaration in 2019. Also, there is no information about the sale of stake worth 499.000 UAH. This is violation of the law. Thus, the AntAC will send the appeal to the National Agency on Corruption Prevention.

Semenchenko’s wife Olena has very successful business indicators. Her biggest “rise” coincided with her husband’s career growth. Namely: after two years as he has held the position of deputy head of the Department of the Security Service of Dnipropetrovsk region, he was appointed as the head of Zhytomyr Department of the Security Service in 2013. By the way, in 2014 he left the Service and did not hold any positions until 2019.

According to Semenchenko’s latest declaration, Olena is owner of the Cypriot company FINANCE ALLIANCE ASG LTD. The company has invested 5.2 million USD in Soloma LLC and owns 26% of the company. And co-owners are already mentioned partners of Smenchenko Yevhen Astion and Mykhailo Koshlyak. Semenchenko has invested another 3.1 million USD in another Cypriot firm Ovaro Holdings limited.

By the way, the company Ovaro is not indicated in Semenchenko’s declaration, but it is well known in Ukraine. After all, it controls the development company XXI Century, which in January 2020 bought the land plot in Kyiv for the construction of the shopping center Vyrlytsya.

“We have common situation for Ukraine. Former official of the SBU allegedly no longer does business, and his wife, on the contrary, has succeeded in it. At the same time her business partners are the same as her husband-official used to have. And we are talking about millions of dollars there. And Zelenskyi was not alarmed by such coincidences at all”, commented Andriy Savin, the lawyer of the Anti-Corruption Action Center.

But that’s not all. Semenchenko submitted in the declaration in 2019 that his wife had become the owner of two apartments in occupied by Russia Yevpatoriya. This real estate isn’t registered on Semenchenko in Ukrainian registers. However, it is registered on him in Russian. This means that the property is registered according to the Russian law. Moreover, it was acquired in 2018, and Semenchenko submitted 2019.

Semenchenko is also lucky to have wealthy relatives. Thus, in 2018, the wife submitted the gift in the form of cash in the amount of 4.59 million UAH from alleged relative Galyna Kosovska, the native of Yevpatoriya who was born in 1947. According to the register, Galyna Volodymyrivna did not own business, thus, the source of funds remains unknown. By the way, Kosovska used to own apartments in Yevpatoria, which were owned by Semenchenko’s wife later.

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Semenchenko is not the only employee who questions the SBU’s reputation. Pressure on business, made up statistics and failed cases have become normal occurrence for the Security Service. But it seems that no one, including the President, wants to reform the SBU, to take away nonrelevant functions. Olena Shcherban, the Board Member of the AntAC, described this problem in details:Made up figures, harassment of business and failed cases: the SBU which Zelenskyi wants to strengthen.

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