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Constantine Poroh: Seize Kuchmas Fraudulent Financial Accounts!

11/14/2002 | Kostya Poroh
Constantine Poroh: Seize Kuchmas Fraudulent Financial Accounts!

Foreign governments, including U.S. authorities, can do a great favor to Ukraine seize money laundering accounts of Leonid Kuchma and his fraudulent family.

The arrest of Ukraines grand smuggler, the former prime minister Lazarenko, gave a clear evidence that something is wrong with Ukraines high executive office. The hire of president Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine, Mr. Lazarenko amassed several hundred million U.S. dollars stolen from Ukraines taxpayers to his offshore and U.S. financial accounts. At the zenith of his fame, Mr. Lazarenko openly bought multimillion real estate properties in California. U.S. authorities rightfully persecuted Mr. Lazarenko and arrested him on money laundering charges. The American court sentenced Mr. Lazarenko to a long-term prison term.

This was a story with a seemingly good ending, but it was not. The main alleged accomplice of Lazarenko, the president of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, is well and in power. As a result, many more Lazarenkos are currently operating under protection of Kuchmas family. One of the alleged accomplice of Kuchma, the arms trader Valery Malev, is already dead. Another, Oleh Bakai, the former manager of a government gas trading company, is well and healthy. Key solicitators of corruption money for Kuchma, Oleksandr Volkov and Valery Pustovoitenko, are members of parliament.

Corruption is not the only sin of Mr. Kuchma. His administration is reportedly engaged in hundreds of killings, direct stealing of government property, and abuse of taxpayers money. The low morale at the presidential administration -- and those under its protection -- corrupts the whole Ukrainian society. People feel abused, betrayed, and frightened.

The U.S. authorities have had information on Mr. Kuchmas wrongdoings a long time ago. Radio Libertys Corruption Watch has written even since 1996 about Kuchmas Kharkiv Initiative transforming Kharkiv into a major center of illegal drugs and arms trade. Kharkivs government owned Khartron Corporation had reportedly sold missile technology to Iraq. About that time, Kushmas government approved a private ambassador of Iraq to Ukraine, who was located in Kharkiv. In 1999, U.S. authorities warned Kuchma about Oleksandr Volkovs money laundering operations in Europe and offshore constituencies. In the year 2000, Major Melnychenkos tapes with Kuchmas illegal arms trade negotiations.

It doesnt take to be a CIA agent to find out that a large portion of Ukraines arms exports is being conducted illegally on private accounts of cronies of Mr. Kuchma. A starting salary of a junior account manager at one of Kyiv based arms trading firm exceeds $100,000. Other types of illegal trades include smuggling government funds, financing international killers, and illegal drugs trafficking. The money obtained from these operations usually do not stay in Ukraine: they go to offshore locations, including the U.S.

It is a high time for U.S., European, and other governments, to realize that a part of responsibility for a grave criminal situation in Ukraine lies on them, as well as on Ukrainian law enforcement. It is in the interest of everyone to step up, and in one front with Ukrainian people, to stop operations of international gangsters of the like of Kuchma, Volkov, Bakai, Pinchuk, Medvedchuk, Pustovoitenko, Lytvyn, and Khoroshkovsky. If Ukrainians cannot easily arrest them, one measure can definitely help us Ukrainians get rid of perverts: FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS SHOULD SEIZE AS MANY MONEY LAUNDERING ACCOUNTS OF SUSPECT INDIVIDUALS AS THEY CAN.

Help us, help yourselves! Help us get rid of corrupt Kuchmas family.

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  • 2002.11.14 | Peter Byrne

    Re: Constantine Poroh: Seize Kuchmas Fraudulent Financial Accounts!

    Lazarenko has not been sentenced. Sorry, innocent until proven guilty.
    /
    • 2002.11.14 | .

      Sorry my arse! Lazorenko is guilty as charged. Or will be.

      You can take it to the bank now!

      Peter Byrne :
      > Lazarenko has not been sentenced. Sorry, innocent until proven guilty.
    • 2002.11.14 | Andrij

      Re: Felon Lazarenko pleaded guilty

      to the money-laundering charges. In Switzerland.

      Read your own newspaper:

      UKRAINE: LAZARENKO ADMITS TO LAUNDERING
      $9 MILLION THROUGH SWITZERLAND

      By Patrick Combremont
      Kyiv Post/Associated Press


      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      27 June 2000

      GENEVA, June 26 - The former prime minister of Ukraine, Pavlo Lazarenko, admitted through his lawyer Monday that he laundered $9 million in stolen money through Switzerland, but authorities said they had given up hope of prosecuting him for a much larger sum.

      Investigators told the Geneva police court that Lazarenko is believed to have stolen a total of $880 million from Ukraine between 1994 and 1997. The money passed through more than 80 banks, and some $170 million went through Switzerland, they said.

      "This hearing is the result of negotiations with the defense to find a way out of a tangled case that seemed to be heading toward a dead end," State Prosecutor Bernard Bertossa told the court.

      He asked the court to impose an 18-month suspended prison sentence on Lazarenko, 47, who is being held in San Francisco on suspicion of further money-laundering offenses in the United States. The court will issue its ruling at a later date.

      Bertossa said the money that came through Switzerland was divided between accounts in 25 banks, and via "a veritable network of front companies."

      The two transactions that were the subject of Monday's charge came from commissions paid on the export of manganese through a Ukrainian company.

      Bertossa said he had been unable to bring charges relating to other offenses for lack of resources and because the cases were close to the statute of limitations.

      But, he said, it was important to "make it clear that Switzerland is not a safe haven for criminal money."

      He asked for $8.5 million, frozen in Geneva bank accounts, to be confiscated and returned to Ukraine.

      Lazarenko's lawyer, Paul Gully-Hart, told the court that "he is not a corrupt official."

      "This case comes from the confusion of public function with private interests, in a country where privatization happened in a disorderly manner and where it seemed normal that a politician should also be a businessman."

      Lazarenko was arrested in Basel in December 1998 but was released after paying 4 million francs (then $3 million) bail.

      He was detained in San Francisco in April 1999 after a Swiss judge issued an international arrest warrant for him and asked U.S. authorities to extradite him.

      Lazarenko has fought against extradition, claiming he would not get a fair trial in Ukraine.

      Earlier this month he pleaded innocent in San Francisco to federal charges he conspired to launder $114 million that he allegedly demanded as the price of doing business in his country.

      Lazarenko, named prime minister in 1996 by Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, served 13 months before losing a power struggle.
    • 2002.11.14 | LL.M.

      He's been sentenced by a Swiss. Don't be a dummy pls (-)

    • 2002.11.14 | Kostya Poroh

      Not sentensed by a federal district court?

      There is so much info about Lazarenko. Lots of sources state that he is sentenced by a federal district court and that he appealed to a corresponding Court of Appeals. Please correct me if I made a factual mistake. I will correct it ASAP if there is one.

      My point, though, was that there are many more people and businesses which launder criminal or semi-criminal money. U.S. can help by seizing them on its own soil.

      Peter, pls. consider this as a "letter to the KP editor".
  • 2002.11.14 | Kostya Poroh

    Here is more and more evidence of fraud

    Ukraine almost sold radar systems to Iraq - president's chief of staff
    Byline: Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian 1552 12 Nov
    02

    UKRAINE --

    Text of report by Interfax-Ukraine news agency

    Kiev, 12 November: Talks between Valeriy Malyev, the former head
    of Ukrainian state arms exporter Ukrspetseksport, and a Jordanian
    middleman on the sale of Kolchuga radar systems to Iraq were stopped
    by the Ukrainian Security Service and the Defence Ministry's main
    intelligence directorate in the early stages, the head of the presidential
    administration, Viktor Medvedchuk, has said.
    Medvedchuk's comment was in response to a US-British report saying
    that members of the Ukrainian Security Service "had admitted to knowing
    about the proposed deal" when asked by US-British experts [sent to
    investigate the allegation in Kiev]. "Malyev was told that it (the
    deal to sell the Kolchugas) was inexpedient, but there was no evidence
    as to whether the deal was stopped, how it was stopped and who exactly
    participated in it," the experts said.

    Medvedchuk said that the head of the Ukrainian Security Service,
    Volodymyr Radchenko, had told the experts during a meeting that the
    Security Service, "in performance of its duty to monitor all agreements
    at the stage of protocols of intentions, talks, discussions or requests,
    must investigate this issue to prevent violations of Ukrainian and
    international law". "That is why evidence that the deal was stopped
    is considered operational information," he said.

    According to Medvedchuk, Radchenko told the experts that such information
    was received during operations carried out by the Security Service
    and the Defence Ministry's main intelligence directorate.

    "Malyev really held such unofficial talks, but they were not held
    at the level of signing protocols, making offers or concluding deals.
    The talks concerned a request on the possibility of a sale," Medvedchuk
    said.

    "It was at this stage that the Security Service and the Defence Ministry'
    s main intelligence directorate stopped the talks and explained to
    Malyev that it was inexpedient to continue them in the future," he
    emphasized.

    Malyev, who headed Ukrainian arms monopolist Ukrspetseksport since
    April 1998, died in a car accident on the Kiev-Boryspil- Dnipropetrovsk
    highway at the border between Cherkasy and Poltava Region early in
    March 2002, while returning from Zaporizhzhya to Kiev.

    Keywords: PROLIFERATION; UKRAINE IRAQ

    Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian 1552 12 Nov 02, Ukraine almost sold
    radar systems to Iraq - president's chief of staff. , BBC Monitoring Former Soviet
    Union - Political, 11-12-2002.


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