Attacks on AntAC
Smear campaign and political harassement against Anti-Corruption Action Centre. What is happening? Who is behind it and where to find the truth?
Almost every day, the team of the Anti-Corruption Action Centre finds new absurd and mostly ficticious stories being levied against our organization, against our work and against the integrity of our team members.
This defamatory smear campaign against AntAC intensified substantially in April 2017, in conjunction with the adoption of a scandalous law obliging anti-corruption activists to submit asset declarations, similar to those of public officials.
Messages attacking our probity are merely being spread on social media, but are also being reflected on national TV channels. There are ongoing attempts to disseminate false information about AntAC in the international media.

Here, we have gathered all key public allegations against our organization and we have provided fact-based rebuttals to them.
We are reacting only to those accusations spread by public officials. Politicians and state officials bear political responsibility for threatening and endangering our work and intimidating our organization, which is scrutinizing the activity of the authorities.

We have not reacting to most 'fake news', assumptions, and accusations which have been disseminated on social media by trolls, for these are grounded on speculative judgements and on fanciful personal conjecture instead of facts and documents.

Should you receive 'revealing' information about AntAC's work, we ask you to read the text below and to contact us for an official statement.
AntAC has filed legal claims to the proper judicial and law enforcement agencies in Ukraine regarding the constant defamatory attacks on AntAC.
False statements about AntAC:
We will explain why this is a lie, and what is really happening.
We are explaining the intentions of some politicians to revoke AntAC's status as a non-profit organization.
This is groundless libel about the Head of the Board of AntAC.
In reality, this 'journalist' is a videoblogger and provocateur.
Criminal prosecution against AntAC initiated by the Government.
Attempt to discredit AntAC by American lobbyists.
This accusation was first disseminated on 23 May 2017 a press conference given by the 'Narodnyi Front' Member of Parliament Pavlo Pynzenyk. There, Pynzenyk unveiled a video compilation produced by the NGO "National Interest", which argued that AntAC siphons off project funding through the accounts of private entrepreneurs. Later, in live television speeches given by Pynzenyk, he consistently re-iterated similar statements. These accusations were allegedly based on information as to the sums and flows of funds in the personal accounts of AntAC board members. Subsequently, these videos were deleted from the websites on which they were hosted.

Notably, Pynzenyk stated: "…despite the high salaries of this organization members' funds were additionally transferred to private entrepreneurs. For example, private entrepreneur V. Shabunin received 1,7 million UAH in 2016-2017 … famous Daria Kaleniuk received 130 thousand UAH, private entrepreneur Ustinova received 1,86 million UAH from the AntAC NGO…".

These statements are false, and they could easily have been fact-checked by the MP himself.

The head of AntAC's Executive Board Mr. Shabunin closed his registration as a private entrepreneur on 27 January 2017. This information is freely accessibly on the official website of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. Mr. Shabunin, when a private entrepreneur earned in 2016 a total of 555,337 UAH which is confirmed by the electronic declaration for 2016 that he submitted to the website of the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP). Tax reports to the State Fiscal Service also confirm this information. From 1 October 2016, Shabunin is under employment at AnTAC and received a gross salary that amounted to 255,155 UAH for the period of between 1 October 2016 and 31 December 2016. This is confirmed by the electronic declaration on NACP website. From October 2016 to January 2017, when Shabunin suspended his registration as a private entreupreuneur, he did not receive any income from AnTAC emanating from business activities. This is further confirmed by additional reporting for 2016. Shabunin has never been remunerated for his work and services by AnTAC as both employee under an employment contract and as a private entrepreneur at the same time.

The sum quoted by Pynzenyk is entirely ficticious. AntAC's Executive Director Daria Kaleniuk has been under an employment contract with AntAC since February 2013. On 28 December 2016, she removed her name from the register of private entreupreuners. This information is freely accessible on the official website of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. In 2016, Kaleniuk did not receive any income from entrepreneurial activity, this is confirmed by her tax declaration for 2016. Moreover, Kaleniuk never received payment from AntAC as a private entrepreneur.

AntAC's Executive Board members Oleksandra Ustinova is registered as a private entrepreneur and receives payments from AnTAC for her works and services, according to agreements and work completion certificates for the production of particular results: publications, analysis, communication strategies, negotiations, etc. Amounts quoted by Pynzenyk are fictitious and can be refuted by tax department statements.
Private entrepreneurs at NGOs
It is important to note that most NGOs in Ukraine usually have employment contracts with only a small number of staff members, sometimes only 2 or 3 individuals in management positions. The majority of team members at Ukrainian NGOs who receive donors funds are registered as private entrepreneurs and under contract provide expert services to the NGO.

There are numerous reasons for this, specifically:
Short-term grants
NGOs in Ukraine operate on short-term grants and do not have regular stable funding, which might delay the payment to staff under employment contracts. As per Ukrainian legislation, huge fines should be imposed for by authorities on organizations for such delays.
Project-based approach
Many organizations do not require experts as permanent staffers since they operate on a project-based approach, where private entreupreuners can be contracted.
Most experts in the NGO sector are registered as private entrepreneurs, which gives to them flexibility and increases their competitiveness on the market.
This is official legal practice in Ukraine, which is confirmed by many external auditors.
Prosecutors were already looking at alleged criminal activities committed by AntAC back in 2016
In Spring 2016, the General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine (GPO) looked for, and failed to find any criminal activities in AntAC's financial transactions. This criminal investigation had been triggered by prosecutors under the management of Prosecutor General Mr. Viktor Shokin, who was the subject of heavy public criticism by AntAC, which demanded his dismissal. Immeditaly after Mr. Shokin's resignation, the new Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko closed criminal proceedings against our organization "for the lack of the event of the crime". The so-called "pre-trial investigation" in the case had been accompanied by the disclosure of AnTAC's confidential financial information of on the internet, which had been illegally obtained by investigators through a court order. Official letters from the US Embassy and IDLO (International Development Law Organization) confirmed the unreliability of the investigation data, which had been used by prosecutors in court to substantiate their claim as to the necessity of access to the organisation's documents. The confidential banking information was obtained for the purpose of "strengthening" the smear campaign against AntAC in the future. We managed to initiate criminal proceedings against investigators and prosecutors who abused their office by triggering a criminal case against us, despite having no grounds to do so. However, the Prosecutor General Office quickly closed the investigation which we are now reopening via the courts.

It is notable that detectives from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, in their searches of the home of suspect Roman Nasirov, the Head of the State Fiscal Service (SFS) found an extract from the Unified Register of Pre-Trial Investigations with information on criminal proceedings against AnTAC. This gives grounds to believe that representatives of this agency are familiar with the financial reports of our organization, and that if they had been willing to prosecute AntAC for tax code violations or other legislative violations, they could easily have done so. However, to do so, the total falsification of documents would have be required, as in the case of the criminal investigation by the PGO.
"…all these things are obviously violation of Ukrainian legislation, which regulates the activities of non-profit organizations and could at least cause the suspension of non-profit status of the Anti-Corruption Action Centre." – V. Pynzenyk.

AntAC does not profit from its activities or funds, which are obtained from international organizations and are used solely for the financing of detailed projects in accordance with agreements, project applications and in strict adherence of AntAC's statutory objectives, the requirements of donors and in line with Ukrainian legislation. For example, in reply to the absurd accusations from GPO the US Embassy stated: "AntAC was working effectively and reported on every penny" and added that they "are proud to be partners!" From 16 July 2012, AnTAC is permanently registered on the Register of the Non-profit Organizations.

On 4 November 2016, AnTAC confirmed its status as a non-profit organization according to legislative amendments (Decision No. 1626554601498 dated November 04, 2016) meaning that we are carrying out our activities in line with current legislation, in particular the requirements of Article 133.4 of the Tax Code of Ukraine and the provisions of our statute (amended as of October 06, 2016). This is also confirmed by external regular audit findings for 2014, 2015 and 2016. If someone had reasonable grounds to believe that we are not deserving of this status then why has the tax service confirmed it after its auditing of all our documents?

Mr. Pynzenyk, a Member of the Ukraininan Parliament and Acting Head of the Committee on Rules of Parliamentary Procedure and Support to Work of The Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine should have asked for the advice of his colleagues from the Tax Committee on this issue, before demonstrating his ignorance in legislation to the whole country. Moreover, Mr. Pynzenyk confirmed that he had all our documents (which begs the question, where did he get them?) and that he was going to spread them among diplomatic officials of the G7 countries. Yet, for now, the only evidence we see of such "spreading" is in the posts and blogs of unknown people online, who are repeating these lies and nonsense about AntAC.
A Ukrainian MP is confident that AntAC should be deprived of non-profit status, but this statement is unfounded. This is why we consider his objectives as intimidation and political harassement.
AntAC team has initiated numerous criminal investigations against officials from "Narodnyi Front" and their associates
It is worth noting that AnTAC has its own history of relations with separate group of MPs inside the "Narodnyi Front", specifically, the "Pashynkyi" group.

AntAC has had heated debates with them when they trying to push several draft laws on the special confiscation of illicitly obtained assets.

AntAC also contributed to the dismissal of the notorious Olena Tyschenko from the civil service. Mrs. Tyschenko, an associate of Chornovol and Pashynskyi, was engaged in laundering the assets of Kazakh oligarch Mr. Mukhtar Ablyazov. However this did not prevent Mrs. Tyschenko from being appointed as the Head of the Department of Assets Recovery in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in 2015.
Criminal investigations against officials from "Narodnyi Front", initiated by AntAC
  • 'Kurchenko's oil products'
    Criminal investigation regarding 'Serhiy Kurchenko's oil products' embezzlement, which were undervalued and sold without a tender to a company controlled by the husband of Olena Tyschenko.
  • 'Avakov's backpacks'

    Criminal investigation regarding the procurement of 'Arsen Avakov's backpacks' for ATO soldiers, carried out by the Ministry of Internal Affairs from a company affiliated with the son of the minister. The ministry substantially overpayed for them.
  • 'Kotvitskyi's $40 million'
    Criminal investigation regarding the siphoning of $40 millon out of Ukraine by MP Ihor Kotvitsyi, a close associate of Arsen Avakov.
  • Mykola Martynenko
    Criminal investigation regarding bribery and money laundering by the former "Narodnyi Front" MP Mykola Martynanko, a close associate of former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk.
The issue of AntAC team members' incomes became the ground for the harassement of Oleksandra Ustinova, our Executive Board member and head of AntAC's campaign against corruption in healthcare. 'Justice seekers' from the "Holos Narodu" social media channel started harassing Oleksandra from early May 2017. They waited for her at the airport when she was returning from vacation with her partner. They also came to her house, trespassing on the property of her partner's family. These were designed to show Ustinova possessed huge assets by being anti-corruption activist. It is nonsense, because prior to AntAC Oleksanda worked as a PR manager in the Kyiv office of the US IT-company eBay for almost six years, there her earnings were the same as highly paid IT-specialists. We have information that the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) had gotten hold of and leaked Oleksandra's personal data. Ustinova regularly highlights the work of the SSU in the medical sector and was then publishing evidence on the role of counterintelligence in the procurement of medicines by international organizations.
Ustinova on SSU surveillance of activists
Both Oleksandra Ustinova and Vitaliy Shabunin answered all questions about incomes of AntAC team during a live interview at the editorial office of “Novoe Vremya" magazine:
The Supreme Court Recognised Figures to be a Value Judgement
In June of 2017, the State Fiscal Service opened the pre-trial investigation of "tax evasion" by the Anti-corruption Action Centre. In October of 2017, the criminal proceeding on "tax evasion" was transferred to Cherkasy Prosecutor's Office.

This information comes from the Prosecutor General's Office's written reply to the President of the Helsinki Human Rights Foundation concerning persecution of anti-corruption activists in Ukraine.

The letter states that the Anti-corruption Action Centre is accused of tax-evasion of over 1.3 million UAH, including the fact that on October 25, 2017, the said proceeding was transferred to Cherkasy oblast prosecutor's office, pre-trial investigation is ongoing.We also discovered that in connection to this case Prosecutor General's Office requested permission for additional check of the Anti-corruption Action Centre from Kyiv city Pecherskyi district court. The judge, however, denied such permission. Shortly after that, the case was transferred to Cherkasy oblast prosecutor's office, which means that from then on it is Cherkasy court that will give permission to conduct any and all investigative actions.There are absolutely no grounds to transfer the case to Cherkasy. The Anti-corruption Action Centre is registered and operates in Kyiv, and the State Fiscal Service in Kyiv opened the proceeding. We consider it pressure and believe that it was done solely with the purpose of easily obtained permissions for any investigative actions against the organization, since local courts are notorious for playing along with the prosecutor's office, thus having featured in multiple high-profile scandals.

On January 30, 2018, Kyiv city Court of Appeal pronounced information concerning the Anti-corruption Action Centre, spread by MP Pavlo Pynzenyk at his Verkhovna Rada briefing, false; it also obliged him to refute his claims on a similar briefing.

Cherkasy oblast prosecutor's office ignored the Court of Appeals decision and refused to close the criminal proceeding against the AntAC, which was opened based on MP Pynzenyk's claim.

Later, in May 2018 the Supreme Court passed its decision on the case of the Anti-corruption Action Centre vs. MP from the Narodnyi Front Pavlo Pynzenyk with the speed of lightning and without involvement of the parties. The Supreme Court Recognised Figures to be a Value Judgement.
Vitaliy Shabunin Attacked During Protest
On July 17 2018, near the Specialized Anticorruption Prosecutor's Office, the activists held a peaceful rally demanding SAPO head Kholodnytsky's resignation. Earlier, SAPO groundlessly closed the proceeding in the "case of backpacks" regarding two subjects – the son of the Minister of Internal Affairs Oleksandr Avakov and the former Deputy Minister Serhii Chebotar due to alleged absence of "direct sufficient evidence".

When AntAC head of Board Vitaliy Shabunin arrived at the place, a group of young men in military uniform immediately attacked him, poured green antiseptic in his eyes and threw at him Roshen cakes. According to the medical report of the Oleksandriyivskyi Hospital, Shabunin got a corrosive burn of both eyes. In the meantime, police stood beside and did not even attempt to stop provocateurs, as well as later on stalled investigations against attackers. The whole shadow of suspicion in organization of the attacks falls on the Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov and Narodnyi Front.

AntAC Head of Board Vitaliy Shabunin Got A Corrosive Burn Of Both Eyes
Near the Specialized Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, a group of young men in military uniform attacked the Head of Board of the Anticorruption Action Center Vitaliy Shabunin and poured brilliant green dye in his eyes. According to the medical report of the Oleksandriyivskyi Hospital, Shabunin got a corrosive burn of both eyes.
In May 2017, Vitaliy Shabunin, Head of the Board of AnTAC, started receiving public threats for alleged "draft evasion". At first these came from the videblogger of the internet-channel "Holos Narodu", who announced the submitting of requests to the military enlistment office. Later, public threats were coming from "Union of Military Intelligence Veterans", a hitherto absolutely unknown and hurriedly registered organization. Some representatives of the Union threatened to deliver Shabunin to the military enlistment office and publicly slandered him for dodging his military service. Shortly after the threats were received, three enlistment officers accompanied by unknown persons with video cameras came to Shabunin's house and delivered a military subpoena. They could not explain the reason of subpoena delivery, nor why the "escort" who filmed the process was present. That same evening, the video was released by a videoblogger on the channel "Holos Narodu" under the pretext that Shabunin is avoiding military service.

In fact, Shabunin was not on the register (of the military enlistment office) at his place
of residence, as he could not be mobilized for military service for other reasons. This reason Vitaly could not be mobilized is that he is not a reserve officer. Moreover, until the end of 2011Vitaliy had legitimate grounds for not serving in the military, first, as he was a student, and immediately after as he was a serving member of Rivne City Council. Once he had stepped down, he was older than the mandatory conscription age. Vitaliy does not have military profession because he did not study at the military department (of the university). Moreover, in 2005, he was recognized as "unfit for military service in peacetime and partially fit in wartime" due to his health. Representatives of the military enlistment office where Vitaliy Shabunin was called were "shocked because of what is happening" and had no claims in relation to Vitaliy. They suggested that he apply to a local military enlistment office, which Shabunin did that day. In his local military enlistment office he has been appointed to the medical board. The board once again recognized him as "partially fit" for the military service.

As it was found out later, the officers from the military enlistment office were sent to Shabunin's house up on the request of the military prosecution office headed by Anatoliy Matios. This was allegedly part of a broad operation for searching and punishing army deserters. For some reason as a result of this operation military enlistment office found Vitaliy Shabunin instead of deserters. Notably, the officers visited Vitaliy's house just one week after AntAC submitted a law suit against Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoliy Matios for hiding illegally asset declarations. Officers, who visited Vitaliy's house to deliver him a notice violated the law by doing this and were sanctioned for having exceeded their powers.
Vitaliy Shabunin was pepper sprayed by videoblogger Filimonenko, whom he punched
On the day of Vitaliy's visit to the military enlistment office, the videoblogger Filimonenko along with his colleagues were waiting for him. These individuals have been systematically harassing AntAC team, using the personal data of our team members leaked by law enforcement agencies (in our view – by the SSU). The goal of such harassment is to provoke and morally destabilize our employees. Indeed, with their harassment and insults, they made a member of the Board of AntAC, Oleksandra Ustinova, cry. When Shabunin encountered these provocateurs, he punched one. Vitaliy had initially forbidden them to film him, and warned that his actions were the result of the insults directed at Ustinova. A video of the punch was filmed by the blogger's сolleagues. Later near the military enlistment office, the videoblogger continued his provocations and pepper sprayed Vitaliy Shabunin and another journalists in the face. These events were also filmed. As a result, Shabunin went to the hospital from the military enlistment office to rinse his eyes and the injured journalists called the police. The videoblogger and his entourage tried to present the punch as an "attack on a journalist", ironic considering that this is just a provocateur and real journalists were injured. Moreover, although after the punch he was cheerful, refusing hospitalization, that evening he went to the doctors and showed in a live TV interview his 'injuries' from the 'beating' that he received.

Vitaliy Shabunin did indeed hit the provocateur and will be held accountable according to the law. The videoblogger who was punched is the head and co-founder of the regional political party in the Luhansk "5.10", a well as an assistant to the "Radical Party" MP Serhiy Melnychuk. In 2012, he was kicked out of the CHESNO civil movement for the "violation of principles and neglect of the values of civic initiative". The reason for this was video and audio files, which were released on the internet, where this blogger demanded a bribe from the election agents of an MP candidate in one of the districts of Lugansk region.

Political motivation of the case is glaringly obvious for everybody
In the months that the case is being investigated, no new evidence in the case has been discovered, which would prove obstruction of the journalist's professional activity.

From day one, the case has been "investigated" by 10 investigating officers; the investigation term has been prolonged 4 times. Earlier, in the course of investigation, Shabunin's lawyers already asked the court to take note of the fact that witness interrogation protocols, presented by the prosecution, look remarkably alike. The text of the medical expert's conclusion, which served grounds for suspicion, contains errors and false information.

Characteristically, other cases of assault on journalists have not been investigated much or at all by the law enforcement. Cases that do end up in court are few and far between. For instance, since 2015, only 4 verdicts have been delivered under article 345-1, which is now incriminated to Shabunin. All that considering the fact that in the previous 2017 year alone, according to the Institute of Mass Information, 276 cases of violating the freedom of speech were registered. Out of them, 29 cases were assaults on journalists, 37 threats and 89 obstructions of journalists' professional activity.

Political motivation of the case could not be more obvious. Major international human rights organizations already issued strongly worded statements concerning political motivation for the Shabunin case, including Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, Netherlands Helsinki Committee and Helsinki Human Rights Foundation Poland.
AntAC activities and activists is facing a sustained high level of interest from law enforcement agencies. We record the facts when information about our plans, discussions, actions appears later on various social media and in the public domain. Information of this kind could be gotten hold of only via covert investigative actions. In other words, wiretapping, which is likely performed illegally against us. Law enforcement agencies are now preparing well in advance to rebut our cricisim of their actions.
"Beating of the 'journalist'"

Numerous provocations by videobloggers from the internet-channel "Holos Narodu" targeting AnTAC team members resulted in Vitфaliy Shabunin's punching of one of them.

Criminal proceeding under Article 345-1 (the threat of violence is the violence against journalist) was begun with lightning pace by the police, despite the fact that provocateur had not even introduced himself as a journalist when he initially approached Vitaliy Shabunin.

Simultaneously, the deliberate use of a gas spray against Vitaly and other journalists remained unnoticed by the police, until AntAC has sent a separate claim.
"US funds for the prosecution reform"

The Prosecutor General's Office began criminal proceedings against AntAC through the falsification of documents and the searching of AntAC bank accounts for funds donated by the US Government for the reform of prosecution in Ukraine. Disregarding the fact that AntAC has never received funding for prosecution reform, prosecutors obtained court orders to access all our confidential banking and financial statements. Subsequent information obtained from our confidential documents was then repeatedly published on the internet. Thus, a criminal case was fabricated against AntAC with the sole purpose of obtaining access to all our banking and financial information. The case was closed in May 2016 due to lack of evidence for the crime. Despite our official requests and appeals, none of the employees of the GPO has been held accountable for abuse of office or falsification in a criminal case.
Avakov tries to legalize covert investigative actions against AntAC
The National Police started an investigation of alleged misappropriation of international technical assistance committed with the participation of the Anti-Corruption Action Centre following the appeal of MP Andriy Derkach. The AntAC considers those actions as pressure and believes that it was done in order to obtain court permission for investigative actions against the organization.

In social networks, Derkach published fabricated scheme of misappropriations of funds of incredible amount $ 142.9 million allegedly involving AntAC. Notably, the police opened an investigation on the day the application was received.

The absurdity of the statement is that neither the AntAC nor any of the members of the organization have ever received even about the same amount of money during more than eight years of existence of the organization. That is why the organization appealed to the law enforcement agencies for a deliberately false message about the crime by MP.
Financial transparency and accountability
Information on AntAC budgets is available at our website at the section entitled AnTAC-Centre.

If officials or law enforcement agencies still harbor doubts, they can refer to the official statements of our foreign partners, which were quick to react to the first groundless attacks against AntAC from the General Prosecutor's Office.

During AntAC's five years in existence around ten international donors have supported us. The biggest donors are the governments of the United States
of America, the Kingdon of the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom as well as the Open Society Foundation of George Soros. Each of these donors requires and demands specific and transparent financial reporting ranging from weekly updates to "large" annual reports, including an impact assesement of results of our projects. Prior to deciding to finance our projects, every donor carries out a thorough assessment of the organization's ability to produce results in its work fighting corruption and to report on every penny donated and spent.

Our public report outlining our work in our first five years is now accessible on our website. The Head of the Board of AntAC has filed voluntary public asset declarations annually for the past two years, matching state officials. For the past three years, AntAC has been subject to external financial audting and has scored consistently positive results.
In the first five full years of AnTAC's work, the Government did not find any legal justification upon which it could сlose the organization or prosecute any team member. This is why our opponents have been defaming and seeking to side-line AnTAC as well as intimidate our team members. Indeed, it is much easier to falsify the criminal case against us, and forge and distort documents when we are in disarry and have lost both public support and trust.
Along with the smear campaign in Ukraine, our enemies are working to discredit AntAC abroad as well.

Initially, they were anonymously sending to foreign journalistst and decision-makers the abovementioned false information in English. This was conducted in such a way that our enemies were attempting to paint a picture of misspending of Western funds by AntAC through the confidential financial data that had been obtained by law enforcement agencies .

Thereafter, defamatory 'revealations' that were specially targeted at an American audience were spread in top political circles of the US. These 'revalations' sought to engender suspicion that AnTAC's founders had engaged in "illicit enrichement" (such term can be used only for public officials, however) and the "appropriation of foreign donors' project funds". This campaign was conducted without any supporting evidence. A separate section of the information that was circulated concerned AntAC's connections to George Soros, a known critic of US President Donald Trump. The Ukrainian division of Soros' Open Society Foundation has been supporting AntAC for several years.

In our view, these "papers" were manufactured by people who are well aware of the domestic political situation in the US, perhaps lobbyists, and who are in close cooperation with the Ukrainian Government or its officials. We are clarifying the origin of these materials now.
Former official of the US State Department uses false "talking points" in his article
On July 15 2017 FoxNews website published an op-ed by Adam Ereli, former US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain and Deputy Spokesman of the Department of State. The op-ed covers corruption in Ukraine. Mr Ereli uses the information from the so-called "talking points" which are currently widely distributed by unknown people among the U.S. establishment. Particularly, former official accused AntAC in "profiting from sweetheart deals and kickbacks." No proofs for these words were provided.
The AntAC intends to submit a law suit against Mr. Ereli for defaming the organization.

Persons performing the defamatory smear campaign against AntAC are hired professionals? One of them is Liz Mair, who is working as a president of her own company in the US specialized on media consulting and media placement. In particular, posting of publications about clients of the company via online media and bloggers. Ms. Mair is sending statements on the AntAC from the video filmed by NGO "National Interest". She presents defamation materials against AntAC as a big deal and topic which should be "highlighted and monitored". AntAC has the confirmation of such letters.

Liz Mair
Mair Strategies LLC Tel.: (571) 334-8720 Twitter: @LizMair

What AntAC is doing to protect itself:
  • 1
    Telling the truth
    We are systematically informing Ukrainian media as to the facts concerning attacks on our team and employees. AntAC implements the best standards of financial transparency and accountability and is ready to provide detailed financial information of AntAC work at the request of journalists and partners.
  • 2
    We are informing partners as to the risks
    We are informing our partners and donors in addition to the embassies of G7 States as to the facts and instances of of intimidation, smear and harassment campaigns against us, as well as about new risks in working in civil society sector.
  • 3
    We are defending our interests and reputation in the courts
    We filed a lawsuit in court to protection our honor, dignity and business reputation against MP Pynzenyk, specifically on the dissemination of false data, which he сommunicated on the "Rada" TV channel.
  • 4
    We are demanding that the media tell the truth
    We filed a lawsuit in court against "TRС "Ukraine" national TV channel to refute information about AnTAC in a news story entitled "Chasing the Grant-eaters".
  • 5
    We are demanding an in-depth, unbiased criminal investigation
    We demand that the GPO investigate the actions of Pynzenyk and his associates in the NGO "National Interest" on the illegal collection, storage and dissemination of personal and confidential information about AntAC and its members.
  • 6
    Submitting crime incident reports to law enforcement agencies
    We demand investigations into the actions of the provocateur Filimonenko and his associates and from who they received confidential information about AntAC members, as well as their public disseminiation of it and their invasion of AntAC members' privacy.
Authorities are using against AntAC dirty tactics of harassment and discrediting activists and organizations that are scrutinizing the government. These tactics are frequently and effectively used in Russia to silence civil society. We regret that the authorities are tesing the limits of what are acceptable tactics against our organization

We are concerned that human rights activists, investigators and corruption exposers will be the next target of the authorities, although the harassment and public bullying of journalists and activists by trolls and bloggers in social media is already common in Ukraine's everyday routine.
Who is behind the attacks on AntAC?
These are facts that we have managed to uncover as of the end of June 2017
The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU)

On 6 March, AntAC filed a lawsuit against the Security Service of Ukraine due to the making classified of the electronic asset declarations of the agency's senior management. According to the law such e-declarations must be publicly available on the website of the e-declarations official registry. The smear campaign against AntAC began immediately after this.

Questions about Shabunin's property at the press-conference on the the law suit against the SSU. After submitting the law suit to court AntAC organized a press-conference. Several persons who identified as journalists started asking questions about the financial condition, declarations, and real estate of Vitaliy Shabunin. It was uncovered that allegedely representatives of the law enforcement agencies had placed these questions.

"Declare, be a man but not a coward!" on 9 April there was an orchestrated demonstration in front of Shabunin's house. Its participants could not explain their claims to Vitaliy, while employees of the SSU were present near Vitaliy's house of observing the demonstration. AutoMaidan activists and journalists presented evidence proving SSU involvement in this orchestrated protest at Shabunin's house.
Journalist from the “Schemes” TV program presented straightforward evidence of SSU organizing a paid protest in front of Shabunin’s house
At first the SSU denied the claims, but later it turned out that Mr. Matkivskyi, SSU senior management officers, was dismissed from office.

"National Interest" of the "Narodnyi Front"
One of the people carrying out the campaign to discredit AntAC is Vasyl Apasov, the Head of the Board of the NGO "National Interest". He was previously a 'journalist' who was fired by the Newsone TV channel.

Apasov's organization carried out an "investigation" into AnTAC activity that was presented in Parliament personally by the MP Pavlo Pynzenyk.

Pynzenyk is a long-time assistant of ex-MP Mykola Martynenko, who is currently under NABU investigation.
It is interesting that Mr. Apasov, who accuses AntAC of embezzling donors' funds through private entreupreneurship schemes is a private entrepreneur himself. As a private entrepreneur, he was unable to declare the source of 1,8 million UAH in an e-declaration outlining his income.

Vasyl Apasov and his wife Anastasia jointly earned 5,2 million UAH in 2016. Anastasia Apasov was working at her mother's TV channel "UNN". In 2016, she received the modest wage of 27,000 UAH and 3,6 million UAH from "private enterpreneurship". The latter was more than 290.000 UAH per month. Journalists in Ukraine do not have such an income.

The co-founder of the NGO "National Interest" is Ihor Piven. Piven is a former Inspector on the Counter-acting of Corruption in the Ecological Inspection of the Poltava region. Piven is also an assistant to MP Serhiy Tryhubenko (of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc). Ihor Piven was a co-founder of a limited liability company where the brother of Mykola Zlochevsyi was serving as director. Piven is also a co-founder of an NGO entitled the "Union of Military Intelligence Veterans". The other co-founder of this NGO is Sehiy Parkhomenko, the Deputy Head of a subsidiary of the "Vilnohirsk Mining and Metallurgical Combined PJSC United Mining and Chemical Company" (VMMC PJSC UMCC) which was complaining about the activities of NABU when they detained Mr. Zhurylo, the Head of UMCC and the controlled by Mykola Martyneko.

Ihor Piven organized an escort of men in military uniform to meet Shabunin near the Dniprovskyi military enlistment office.

Ihor Piven is also involved in criminal proceedings for the "protection" of smuggling. Piven failed to declare a car that he was driving drunk (he was held liable, as well as fleeing the scene of the crime). In addition, he has 1.5 million UAH in cash and is living in the elite Obolon district of Kiev in an appartnemnt registered under his father's name worth $150.000.000.

Nasirov's revenge?
According to our information a separate source of financing for the campaign against us comes from the entourage of Roman Nasirov, the head of State Fiscal Service of Ukraine, who is now under investigation of the NABU.

Together with other activists, we followed the court hearings, where a precautionary measure for Nasirov was judged. During that time, it was uncovered during the search and seizure of Roman Nasirov's home that law enforcement officers had found an extract from the criminal case against AntAC. This document is part of the Unified Register of Pre-trial Proceedings, the access to which is limited to law enforcement officers investigating the case, and to the Prosecurtor General and his deputies.
Professional provocateurs and media-henchmen

At the beginning of April 2017, the internet channel "Holos Naroda" began systematically releasing videos seeking to discredit about AntAC. These videos sought to promote a false and offensive case, which had been build through harassment and provocation. Three individuals from Luhansk produce these videos: Filimonenko, Lipovetsky, and Grinov. Together they have founded the information agency "Holos Naroda LLC" which was registered on the 26 April 2017. While they may call themselves journalists, in reality, this is far from the case.
- Filimonenko - is a blogger, leader and a co-founder of the 5.10 political party branch in Luhansk, he is also an assistant to the Radical Party MP Melnychuk. Previously, he was the leader of the 'Workers' Trade Union, and a member of the Pora political party. In 2012, he was expelled from Chesno Movement for blackmail and extortion from an election candidate.
- Lypovetsky - is also a co-founder of the 5.10 political party branch in Luhansk. Previously, he was investigated for violation of customs legislation by smuggling the military medals 'For Military Service' and 'For Taking Berlin' to Latvia, atlhough the case was closed due to the expiration of the statute limitation period.
- Grinov - is a co-founder of the Fund of Foreigners Support. He also has the ID of a journalist of the Criminal Investigations. Given this role in their group, he protects Filimonenko.

The Provocateurs
Three provocateurs in front of the military conscription office of the Dnipro district. They gave handshakes to all of the ‘military men’ organized by Igor Piven

International team of "exposers"
According to our information, this person hired by Mykola Martinenko's entourage for the preparation and distribution of false information about the AntAC in the United States.
Liz Mair
Founder of Mair Strategies LLC
The one and only post of this blogger on the blog-platform of HuffingtonPost is a "copy-paste" of the "investigation" of the 'National Interest'.
Onik Mia
CEO of MulTra GmbH, Frankfurt, Germany
They contact English-speaking reporters and send them slanderous information about the AntAC based on the financial documents leaked from pre-trial investigations.
If you write a story about this or mention the AntAC in your publications, please contact us for comment and documents. If you are curious about the results of our work, just ask us.

In the meantime, we will continue our watchdog activity.
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