Real estate worth over 200 million UAH, relatives with Russian citizenship and business in Crimea. The biography of the “secret” counterintelligence officer of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), who became deputy head of the Foreign Intelligence Service in Lesya Ivanova’s investigation “Kidney Intelligence” exclusively for Nashi Groshi with Denys Bihus program.
Serhii Semochko is the head of the Economic Counterintelligence of the SBU, then the head of the Kyiv Department of the SBU, and now first deputy head of the Foreign Intelligence Service. He is the second intelligence officer in the country. The man is the mystery. One year ago, it was impossible to find his photo. Although few years ago, letters signed by him stopped procurement of vitally important drugs across the country.
The life of patients with renal failure depends on several bags with 2 liters of the drug that washes toxins out of the body every day. Such treatment is very expensive. Thus, state purchases and provides this treatment for sick patients.
“One medical procedure costs about 250 UAH. There are around 4 procedures per day. 365 days a year. That means that treatment of one person costs over 300,000 UAH. This treatment costs more than a quarter of a billion UAH per year for the state”, – says Yuriy Nikolov, the editor of online edition Nashi Groshi.
In total in the world there are two major manufacturers of dialysis drugs in the world: Baxter (The USA) and Fresenius (Germany). The first company is historically dominant in the world and Ukrainian markets. Drugs and means of their input from different manufacturers were considered not interchangeable. Those who began treatment with them continued it with them as well.
Therefore, health officials for years have been purchasing drugs that patients have already been treated with them. For doing this, tenders were issued for a particular manufacturer. Officially, it was the “scheme” where requirements of tender documentation were adjusted to the particular company. Considering the medical aspect, this scheme existed for many years and it existed quite well.
Until the SBU became suddenly interested in it. In 2016-2017, Regional Health Departments started to receive letters signed by Semochko from the Economic Counterintelligence.
Essentially, he told the doctors: what you think is not interchangeable, it can be replaced. To enhance the effect, letters also informed about criminal proceedings against the company Diavita, the supplier of American drugs, which were used by vast majority of patients.
Diavita is convinced that the SBU was fighting not for tenders, but for bribes with the help of letters and criminal proceedings. Because all cases appeared after the company refused to pay illicit payoffs to the intelligence agency.
“It was very important for them to show that it was NOT possible NOT to pay”, says Serhii Khrystynchenko, director of the Dialysis Therapy Department of Diavita company.
He states that it is not a secret that the pharmaceutical business in Ukraine has been “keeping charging” the budget and dodged taxes with the help of offshore schemes for years. And the SBU, which knew and understood these schemes, has been “keeping charging” the pharmaceutical business. They were making money on the fact they did not disclose these schemes. Khrystynchenko says that exactly the Economic Counterintelligence of the SBU, which was headed by Semochko for two years, was doing it.
“The SBU should ask the manufacturer – at what price products were shipped to the transit company, and then ask, at what price these products come to Ukraine. It is obvious that this difference is delta, which is transferred to the offshore. What does the SBU really do? They do not say “don’t do this anymore”. “If you pay us, you can continue shipping, and we have nothing to do with you”. The distributor receives large sum of money thanks to the offshore, 700,000-800,000 – one million USD. The SBU will not see the amount. It is much easier to give 100,000-150,000 USD for the SBU per year and continue working. The wolves be stated and the sheep intact.
Since 2015, this supplier has been shipping drugs directly from the manufacturer. At that time, the reason for paying illicit payoff to the SBU vanished. But the SBU happened to have questions about procurement of dialysis from this supplier.
“7-8 people, or even 12 came from the Department of Counterintelligence, – recalls Khrystynchenko. Last names of those who sent them were important, which were sent by them. The letters were also signed by the same person who headed this Main Department of Counterintelligence of the SBU”.
While the led by Semochko SBU “fought” with customers and supplier for rollback– the purchase have just stopped.
Volodymyr Goncharuk is the patient with renal failure. He has been using dialysis for 12 years. He did not receive the drug for dialysis for one and a half month. He is alive only because of his previous experience on supply disruption. He is alive now thanks to having the drug in stock, that helped another patient as well.
Not everyone was so lucky: “It is not possible to buy it anywhere. This is a state procurement and drug stores do not sell it, which means you can buy it nowhere. At that moment we heard that people will die soon. Drugs were transferred from other cities to those which needed these drugs at short notice. Because patients were shouting – please save us or we will die. Patients also used drugs with exceeded time limits”.
Not everyone was able to survive this crisis: “Some patients, who could not for medical reasons or transplantation be taken hemolysis died. There were not less than 200 of such patients”, – says Khrystynchenko.
Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves or magic of the SBU’s calculator
The amount of bribes / illicit kickbacks announced by the distributor of dialysis drugs, which the Counterintelligence of the SBU has been withdrawing from business for years, left no doubt that these money has to settle down somewhere. It was possible to indicate them in electronic asset declarations of the SBU employees. But in 2016 incomes, houses, apartments, cars and etc. are considered to be “state secrets”.
However, we can help to fill in this gap.
As journalists of the program found out, Semochko drives the black Land Cruiser with tinted glass. License plate is registered to the fake person. When Semochko was the head of the Kyiv SBU, this SUV was regularly parked not far from it. We could assume it was his official car. But it was not. When Semochko started his work at the Foreign Intelligence Service, this SUV began to appear regularly in front of the intelligence office.
It is very unlikely that the SBU workers presented Semochko to the Counterintelligence with “dotal property”. But how does it happen that the lifetime official has his own Land Cruiser with fake license plate? Or is there something else that he uses, although he does not officially own it?
Yes, there is.
According to the program’s investigation, every morning Land Cruise arrives to the closed cottage town in prestigious district Koncha Zaspa near city of Kyiv to take its passenger. Every time the car parks near the same estate.
This is a nice estate with a total area of 333 sq m. In February 2016, a woman named Tetyana Lysenko officially bought it. In Kozyn, not far from here, there are two more huge estates which were recently registered on her daughter. We’ll tell you more about them later. To begin with, who is Tetyana Lysenko to Serhii Semochko?
In 2013, they privatized neighboring areas near Yalta, where Semochko worked until its annexation. But these two persons are more than just neighbors. Earlier, Semochko Andriy Oleksiyovych was registered at Lysenko’s address in Yalta. According to a number of signs (identical last names, patronymics, place of birth, geography of emigration: Energodar – Yalta – Kyiv) Andriy seems to be the brother of Serhii Semochko.
Moreover, there is always another third child on pictures of Lysenko’s children from their first marriage posted in social networks. They call this boy their brother.
In Instagram this boy has the account name Ilya, and in VKontakte he is signed as Ilya Lysenko now. However, if you scroll the history of the account a few years ago, it turns out that earlier Ilya Lysenko was signed as Ilya Semochko. VKontakte has at least three more accounts with the name Ilya Semochko and all of them have common friends and the same birthday date.
Why is it important? According to the property register, in 2011, in Yalta, the Crimean head office of the SBU granted an apartment to Serhii Semochko. He privatized it in half with – Semochko Illya Serhiyovych, that is his son. Most likely, this is the very same Ilya Lysenko / Semochko, whom Tetyana Lysenko’s children call their brother now.
This evidence suggest that Tetyana Lysenko is a spouse – official or not official – of Serhii Semochko. And Anastasiya Lysenko (Koton within marriage), Stanislav and Illya Lysenko have family relationship with the SBU and Counterintelligence officer, highlight their economic power serves.
In winter 2017, the stepdaughter Anastasiya Semochko bought another house in Koncha-Zaspa near the house of Tetyana Lysenko. And we know how much it could cost.
In fall 2016, our program told about the real estate of another well-known SBU official, former head of the Anti-Corruption Department Yurii Artyukhov. To understand how much could cost such estate we have compared it with its neighbors. The house next to Artyukhov’s (to the left) turned out to be for sale. It cost two million USD. And in six months, this house was purchased by Anastasia Koton. The relative of one SBU’s top official became the neighbor of the other SBU’s top official.
However, the house amounting to 2 million USD is not the most expensive thing bought by Anastasiya that winter. There is another interesting closed town nearby.
There are houses that belong to: former Minister of Transport Yevhen Chervonenko, the son of former Mayor of Kyiv Leonid Chornovetskyi – Stepan, Pavlo Barbul – until recently the head of Spetstechnonexport. This is one of the biggest enterprises of Ukrainian defense complex. Supply of weapons, foreign currency exchange contracts, a number of criminal proceedings on suspicion of embezzlement of hundreds of millions of budget funds. Immediately after Barbul’s dismissal, the house with total area of 435 square meters was re-registered to his mother. However, this estate looks like one and a half times more modest than the third estate of Semochko-Lysenko family.
In January 2017, the estate (almost 700 square meters), which is located right opposite the Barbul’s estate, was purchased by the same Semochko’s stepdaughter.
We have noticed a bright blue helicopter on photos of Anastasiya and Stanislav for at least three times during past three years. For example, the photo was made near Odesa in Shabo winery: “This is not right to leave winery empty-handed”. The flight Kyiv-Odesa costs from 4,000 to 6,000 USD, according to the website of the operator’s company.
To conclude, three estates in Kozyn are worth about 8 million USD, roughly speaking. Land Cruiser with fake license plate and expensive flights on the helicopter. And now is the most important question. How did he get it? Is there any clear source of such income, except of “providing the cover” to pharmaceutical companies?
We have analyzed the income of the whole family over past 8 years and we have not found any realistic legal source of it.
Tetyana Lysenko. Parents did not have business. According to open data in registers, she was the individual entrepreneur in Crimea. She had a travel agency PE Yalta-Holiday, two not posh apartments and an already mentioned land plot near Yalta. The land plot is re-registered to her son. According to the data of both Ukrainian and Russian real estate registries, apartments still belong to her and were not sold. And even if they were sold, according to current prices at the market, she would have received no more than 200,000 USD of income. In total, over the past 8 years, Lysenko has earned about 135,000 USD. This is all money she earned until 2014. There was no official income later. For this indicated amount she would be able to buy around 1/10 of the house that was registered on Lysenko.
The daughter is Anastasiya Koton. She is 30 years old. For the last few years she is taking care of her child. She officially worked until 2014. Over the past 8 years she had earned about 59,000 USD. For this sum of money, she would be able to purchase the balcony in one of two estates, registered to her.
The son-in-law is Volodymyr Koton. It is also unlikely that he was able to be the sponsor of wholesale purchase of estates in Koncha-Zaspa. His parents are private entrepreneurs in Crimea (retail in shops). For the past 8 years, he had officially earned 1,500 UAH.
Senior son is Stanislav Lysenko. Over past 8 years, he had about 18,000 UAH of official income. His girlfriend (or his wife according to social networks) is individual entrepreneur in Crimea, and provides manicure services.
Younger son is underage.
What about Semochko himself?
His personal official income as well as his family and declaration are confidential. However, we were able to find old declarations of top management on the SBU’s website. So, approximate numbers are clear.
For example, in 2015, the head of the SBU Vasyl Hrytsak has received 254,000 UAH. This is around 1,500 USD per month according to the “most favorable” rate of the dollar. It turns out that Hrytsak would have to work for 120 years in order to buy the house where Semochko, most likely, lives.
Vitaliy Malikov, first deputy of Hrytsak, would have to work for 83 years in order to buy such house. And the scandalous first deputy of Hrytsak and the main Anti-Corruption officer Pavlo Demchyna would have to work for… 138 years.
This is only for one house. Therefore, there are reasonable doubts to consider Semochko to have enough money, received from his official salaries, for buying the three estates.
And his own family was not able to help him. Parents of the SBU official have never had business. In Energodar they lived in usual apartment. Two years ago, mother moved closer to her sons. She bought modest one-room apartment in Irpin, not far from Kyiv. Semochko’s brother and his wife are engaged in insurance business. He lives in Borodyanka village and drives Octavia car … and, it seems that we can draw a line here.
Chicken or trident: a reliable rear of the deputy head of counterintelligence officer
It is difficult to say where does Lysenko-Koton’s family live now. According to their social networks, they constantly travel between Kyiv and annexed Crimea (after its occupation).
In August, the ORD online edition published copies of Russian passports which are supposedly issued to Tetyana Lysenko, Anastasya Koton and Volodymyr Koton. Copies looked quite realistic. The format of the form corresponded to the format of the Russian passport. Photos belong to Tetyana Lysenko, her daughter and son-in-law. Birth dates are also the same.
We checked data of these passports and can reasonably state that the family of the deputy head counterintelligence officer of Ukraine has Russian citizenship.
Although the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation refused to confirm passport data on our request. We verified it on Russian Tax Service website. There you can find out whether there is a valid passport with such data, and whether the individual tax number was provided to its owner.
According to the Federal Tax Service of Russia, Tetyana Lysenko and her son-in-law have been granted Russian TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number), which means the existing of such Russian passports. Due to the published passport’s number, allegedly issued to the daughter, the TIN does not show any information.
Moreover, the Russian Federation’s Unified Register of Legal Entities has the extract regarding the person with the same first and last name, Stanislav Lysenko from Yalta (senior son of Lysenko), where he is also a citizen of Russia. The Register as well provides the same extracts towards his wife and mother-in-law of Stanislav, and Koton’s parents. All in all, there are 8 relatives suspected of dual-citizenship. The dual-citizenship, where the second is the citizenship of the country with which Ukraine has been fighting during almost five years.
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Serhii Semochko sent written response to the program’s request for comment. He noted that the question of family ties with Lysenko is confidential information about his personal and family life. The explanations of the nature of this connection, origin of property and citizenship of Russian Federation were not provided by Semochko.