Firtash , Klyuev and Kolomoisky again accused of financial fraud

The modern post-industrial information sphere has created new conditions for the implementation of financial crimes, namely, money laundering, corruption, especially on an international scale, financing of terrorist organizations. In recent years, Ukraine has often come to the attention of both international organizations and has become the object of journalistic investigations which have related to corruption schemes and money laundering through various financial schemes.

On September 20, 2020, BuzzFeed News published, with consent, a number of FinCEN documents related to financial crime. The FinCEN files are more than 2,500 documents, most of which were allegedly files that banks sent to the US authorities between 2000 and 2017. They raise concerns about what their clients might be doing. These documents are some of the international banking system's most closely guarded secrets. Banks use them to report suspicious behaviour but they are not proof of wrongdoing or crime. Buzzfeed News received them from the International Association of Investigative Journalists from around the world, the agency subsequently distributed them to 108 news organizations in 88 countries, including the BBC Panorama program.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN is a bureau of the US Department of the Treasury that collects data on financial transactions that may represent illegal activities, such as offshore capital withdrawals , arms trading, or the financing of various terrorist organizations. In the field of view of the American system, and then of journalists, data concerning such financial banking institutions as JPMorgan Chase , HSBC, Standard Chartered , Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York Mellon came to light.

This data contains information about Ukrainian oligarchs and officials. Ukrainian journalist Tatyana Kozyreva, who collaborated with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ), and participated in the investigation, allegedly found information concerning P. Manafort , who was political adviser to Yanukovych and ex-head of D. Trump's campaign headquarters, A. Klyuev, head of the Administration President Yanukovych, I. Kolomoisky and Dmitry Firtash. In a column of the «Ukrainian Pravda» information publication, T. Kozyreva noted that 489 transactions were carried out from Ukrainian banks totaling $ 500 million. “You can click «Show Me the Banks», you can see a long list of banks that all these suspicious transactions have gone through. Among them are Privatbank, which until recently was owned by Igor Kolomoisky, and the bankrupt bank of Nadra by Dmitry Firtash, and the First International Bank of Rinat Akhmetov ... ".

Regarding to the main Ukrainian participants, FinCEN received such information. D. Firtash , from May to August 2008, Bothli-Trade AG, a Firtash company, paid $78,101 from its Zürcher Kantonalbank account in Switzerland. The funds transited through Citibank, with which Zürcher Kantonalbank had a correspondent relationship. Citibank later filed a suspicious activity report mentioning the transactions. The funds were credited to Standard Chartered accounts in Singapore and India in the name of Periyasamy Sunderalingam, a person indicted in 2013 with Firtash and others for bribing Indian officials. A Reuters investigation found that Firtash made his fortune by importing billions of dollars of natural gas to Ukraine from Russia at an artificially low price. In 2013, Firtash was indicted on U.S. charges that he bribed Indian officials for a lucrative titanium mining deal. Giuliani reportedly used documents provided by Firtash to further an allegation that former Vice President Joe Biden sought to fire Ukraine’s chief prosecutor to protect his son. USA prosecutors have described Firtash as an “upper-echelon” associate of Russian organized crime. Firtash has denied ties to Mogilevich and allegations of wrongdoing.

A. Klyuyev – According to FinCEN, «from February to June 2011, Ukrainian company TH Veles sent more than $31.6 million from its account at Union bank in Ukraine. Union transferred the funds to the Ukrainian branch of Russian bank VTB. VTB then sent the funds to JPMorgan Chase in New York, which flagged the transactions six years later. JPMorgan credited Novirex Sales LLP’s account at Aizkraukles Banka in Riga, Latvia. Among Klyuyev’s most prominent ventures was his family’s solar energy group, Activ Solar, which received hundreds of millions of dollars in loans from Ukrainian state banks that it never repaid. n 2017, JPMorgan Chase flagged $230 million moved by Andriy Klyuyev’s U.K.-based company, NoviRex Sales LLP, over five years (2010-2015). NoviRex funneled secret payments for political consulting to Paul Manafort, former head of Donald Trump’s U.S. presidential campaign, the bank’s report notes. Manafort was convicted of tax and bank fraud in 2018. Some of the transfers to Manafort-related shell companies appeared to be disguised as payments for computer hardware, the bank wrote. The transfers also included more than $40 million paid in 2011 to NoviRex by TH Veles, a company suspected of funneling corrupt payments to Yanukovych that was liquidated in 2013. The TH Veles transfers included payments for Yanukovych’s book, which was never published». The FinCEN Files also contain a report from Ukraine law enforcement officials that examines the Klyuyev family’s alleged corruption schemes. The report details a web of offshore companies and transactions associated with Klyuyev business operations that were under criminal investigation for suspected money laundering and embezzlement. The transactions include the Klyuyev family’s purchase of a company, Tantalit Ltd., that had bought the opulent Ukrainian presidential estate, Mezhyhirya, where Yanukovych lived. According to FinCEN, a total of $ 31 million was withdrawn. through 63 transactions.

I. Kolomoisky - On Dec. 17, 2015, «Louis Dreyfus Commodities Asia Pte. Ltd, a Singapore company, sent $41.9 million from its account at DBS Bank. The funds were sent to Bank of New York Mellon in the U.S., where DBS Bank held a correspondent account. Bank of New York Mellon reported the transaction a year and a half later. Bank of New York Mellon sent the money to Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, still in the United States. Deutsche Bank then credited the account of its correspondent banking client, PrivatBank, in Cyprus. The funds arrived in the PrivatBank account of Claresholm Marketing Ltd, a company Ihor Kolomoisky allegedly used to launder funds in the United States. Kolomoisky still owned PrivatBank at the time». From 2012 to 2017, the Bank of New York Mellon moved more than $263 million for companies controlled by Kolomoisky, the FinCEN Files show. «The largest portion of the amount, worth more than $202 million, was sent in December 2015 and January 2016 by Singapore-based Louis Dreyfus Commodities Asia in transfers that Ukraine law enforcement authorities are now investigating. The funds were sent to the PrivatBank Cyprus account of Claresholm Marketing Ltd, a British Virgin Islands shell company that allegedly was central to Kolomoisky’s money laundering scheme. PrivatBank Cyprus used its correspondent account at Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas to receive the funds. The Bank of New York Mellon reported the transactions as suspicious in August 2017». Deutsche Bank also moved more than $215 million for Kolomoisky’s Ukraine International Airlines in 2015 and 2016, the FinCEN Files show. In one of its suspicious activity reports, the bank noted that Kolomoisky was a “politically exposed person” who was suspected of financial crimes, and that many of the transfers were sent in large, round numbers from high-risk jurisdictions. Deutsche noted in the fourth 2016 report that it was going to end its relationship with the company.

A. Babinets, a journalist with the «SlidstvoInfo» news agency, referring to the publication of ICIJ investigators, points to another figure in Yanukovych's presidency, Yu. Ivanyushchenko. After the accident at the mine. Bazhenova, July 29, 2011, which took the lives of 11 people, Ukrainian auditors drew attention to who supplied the equipment to the mine and in general provided renewal of its physical assets. "It turned out that the supplier of equipment for the Bazhanov mine was the Cypriot company Tornatore. It continued to do so after the accident - so, in December 2011, according to FinCEN documents, Tornatore received $ 5.5 million from Gazenergolizing, which provided the use of mine equipment. The next day, Tornatore transferred $ 999,994 to a Russian leasing company, which was partially owned by the Russian government. Such close to round sums, the material notes, are often a sign of money laundering schemes. Despite the fact that the equipment was allegedly upgraded at the mine both before and after the accident, in fact its deplorable physical condition did not change. «The material mentions workers' complaints that bricks could fall on them from above. And equipment, instead of replacing or overhauling it, was often simply cleaned or painted without major work. ”

According to a 2011 journalistic investigation by Yu. Nikolov and T. Chornovol, cited in the article, the scheme was related to businessman Yu. Ivanyushchenko and could be linked to companies close to Russia's VTB state bank. According to official reports, Yu. Ivanyushchenko left Ukraine in 2014. He is currently under investigation in Ukraine and Switzerland over the possible accumulation of millions of dollars allocated for energy projects. After checking, we found that the FinCEN files do not contain information about this person. In addition, the same article was written that journalists do not have complete facts to confirm this thesis, which calls into question the information about this person.

As a result, BuzzFeed News, together with ICIJ, published and distributed a number of data and files from The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network concerning individuals and banks involved in illegal financial transactions. According to the latest data, more than $ 468 million was withdrawn and laundered from Ukraine in these documents related to illegal financial transactions. Documents were released, including reports related to transactions carried out by banks by prior arrangement with those involved in the cases. Regarding Ukraine, this information contains information about such persons as D. Firtash, A. Klyuyev, I. Kolomoisky. They all share problems with the US administrations of the Obama / Biden period and the Democrats.

Therefore, the purpose of this leak of government files may be to publicly discredit the defendants and create additional grounds for legal prosecution.

This file leak is not the only one in the last few years. In 2017, there was a scandal with the so-called Paradise Papers - a huge array of documents from the offshore legal services provider Appleby and the corporate service Estera. They worked together under the name Appleby until Estera became independent in 2016. They revealed the offshore financial relations of politicians, celebrities and business leaders. The Panama Papers of 2016 - documents obtained by the law firm Mossack Fonseca, showed the use of offshore tax regimes in finance to their advantage. 2015 Swiss Leaks - documents from the Swiss private bank HSBC show how it used the country's banking secrecy laws to help customers avoid paying taxes. In 2014, LuxLeaks contained documents from the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which show that large companies used tax agreements in Luxembourg to reduce the amount they had to pay. Ukrainian politicians and businessmen were also mentioned in some of these sources. This means that such leaks of confidential information will be made public in the future, but the problem of illegal financial transactions in Ukraine and in the world remains quite acute and can be actively used as a tool at the stage of transformation of political institutions.

Financial operations of D. Firtash.

A. Klyuyev's financial operations.

Financial operations of I. Kolomoisky.

 

Дмитро Лагоша спеціально для УІП