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Hrechkivskyi’s case: why the Prosecutor General did not catch the big fish

Two years have passed since the Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko announced about loud exposure of the member of the High Council of Justice Pavlo Hrechkivskyi and named the amount of 500.000 USD.

On the eve, the court announced the verdict of “not guilty”.

On September 21, 2016, Yuriy Lutsenko boasted about the arrest of the Insolvency Officer Oleh Shklyar in Facebook. The Prosecutor General wrote that Shklyar and Hrechkivskyi were demanding money regarding influence on the court decision. Shklyar was detained allegedly with a tranche of 150.000 USD. But later it turned out that there were only 51.000 USD, because one-dollar bills were put to the package.

The first important fact is that money have never reached Hrechkivskyi. It is obvious that arresting the member of the High Council of Justice would be more advantageous for investigators. Instead, law enforcement officers have arrested only his accomplice.

So, the question that arose was whether Hrechkivskyi had planned to take money, and whether he was the part of conspiracy. And what Shklyar received money for.

The member of the High Council of Justice did not admit his guilt and categorically denied the fact that Shklyar had appealed to him regarding such issue. Also, he allegedly saw the representative of the company Bogadar Andrzej Klymchuk for the first time during this trial.

The court heard the defense’s version that Shklyar took money as a fee for legal services for the company Bogadar. The latter patented method for making kvass and kvass must. In 2016, another company appealed against the validity of these patents. Shklyar allegedly promised Hrechkivskyi’s participation in this case, although the latter refused. Attorneys persuaded the court that money was not supposed to be transferred to Hrechkivskyi.

The PGO stated that they were allegedly afraid of not tracking and losing money during the transfer. We can see on the video of Shklyar’s detention that there was an object in the package with money that looks like GPS tracker. However, the tracker was not displayed in the protocol.

The accused Shklyar told the court that after detention he came to be under pressure, blackmailed by the purchase of pills and forced to blame Hrechkivskyi. Later, under unknown circumstances media received this video statement of Shklyar claiming to receive money specifically for Hrechkivskyi.

Secondly, Hrechkivskyi and Shklyar were not prosecuted for bribery, but for unfinished attempt of fraudulent possession of funds in particularly large amounts. Allegedly, Hrechkivskyi did not really have authority to influence on judges and had no intentions to do so.

According to attorneys of the accused, the PGO specifically made such qualification in order not to forward the case to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, which was already in force in September 2016.

But the court still stated the violation of jurisdiction. According to verdict, the fraud case had to be investigated by the National Police, and not by the Prosecutor General’s Office. If the PGO finds the crime not in its jurisdiction, then the case should be forwarded to the related agency. Or else the Prosecutor General may establish the jurisdiction to another body, but his decision should be grounded. The reference to resonance of the case is not the ground. Evidence obtained due to violation of the jurisdiction, including all materials of covert investigative actions, the court considered as unacceptable. Also, the court approved violation of the right of protection, as the PGO failed to disclose materials of covert investigative actions to the other party. Moreover, the PGO did not provide original means by which materials of covert investigative actions were recorded.

Attorneys invited former investigator of the PGO Dmytro Sus as the witness. He said that the task was to “misguide” Hrechkivskyi. According to him, the owner of ATB network, Gennadiy Butkevych, who has family and business disputes with his former son-in-law MP Serhii Rybalka, was behind this case. This version was later confirmed by Rybalka.

“Hrechkivskyi allegedly helped Rybalka one time. And Butkevych did not like it at all… Hrechkivskyi was rat out because he somehow tried to help Rybalka”, Sus explained it in the court. Former investigator said that employees of the PGO unofficially received money rewards for such cases.

Sus quoted former PGO employee Olga Varchenko, who is currently the deputy head of the State Bureau of Investigations. Varchenko allegedly said that they managed to “catch” Hrechkivskyi only from the sixth attempt.

Representatives of Bogadar were not questioned in the court. The Prosecutor General’s Office has not presented any witness. The applicant and the victim Andrzej Klymchuk, who allegedly was the lawyer of the company, told the court that the company had found him via the Internet. The power of attorney was sent by train to him. In November 2016, the director of Bogadar stated to journalists of Slidstvo.Info that he doesn’t know this man.

The court found the applicant’s testimony as unacceptable evidence. It took into account that based on Hrechkivskyi’s defendant appeal, the Qualification and Disciplinary Commission had deprived Klymchuk of the right to practice law due to violation of the oath.

Other “victims” of former attorney Klymchuk, namely former judge Barenko from Zhytomyr, provided testimonies to the court. It is known that he managed to conduct at least four similar operations before Hrechkivskyi’s case. Recently, the criminal proceeding was opened against Klymchuk regarding incitement to bribery.

“The court makes the conclusion that Klymchuk committed the provocation of the offence regarding Hrechkivskyi and Shklyar. The court came to the conclusion that, taking into account Klymchuk’s reputation, who was involved into committing the fraud in 2010, and later he was systematically involved in criminal proceedings as the applicant and the victim, including operational cooperation … under similar circumstances … Such circumstances give grounds for the conclusions that Klymchuk is dependant and is controlled by law enforcement agencies and such circumstances have not been refuted in court by the prosecutor”, stated the judge Hardina.

“For the first time during my practice, I deal not with the offence, or not with the provocation of offence, but with the imitation of offence,” said attorney Petro Boyko during debates.

“I was shocked that attempts to reform the Prosecutor’s Office in some way led to the destruction of principles of the Prosecutor’s Office. When the Prosecutor’s Office provides such a broad publicity regarding this case, they actually destroyed people’s faith in compliance with the law”, said Ihor Cherezov, another attorney of Hrechkivskyi.

The prosecution party demanded 8 years of imprisonment with confiscation of property for Hrechkivskyi and Shklyar.

The PGO prosecutor Dmytro Vakarov, who was representing the case in court during one year, was not present during announcement of the verdict. The applicant, Andrzej Klymchuk, also did not show up.

Few days before the court held the final hearing and went to the meeting room, unknown people launched the website that contained audio conversations of subjects of the case, who allegedly were not investigated during the trial.

As of morning of October 31, neither Yuriy Lutsenko nor the press service of the Prosecutor General’s Office had commented on the verdict.


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