CORRUPTION WATCH: Ukraine Prosecutor General’s deputy cleared of all corruption suspicions

By bne IntelliNews December 11, 2014

bne IntelliNews -


The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) didn’t find any criminal wrongdoing in its investigation into Anatoliy Danylenko, the deputy prosecutor general of Ukraine, reported the Ukrayinska Pravda news site on December 8, citing its interview with Prosecutor General Vitaliy Yarema. The SBU was asked to investigate the origins of a 140-hectare residential compound, which Yarema said belongs to Danylenko’s 30-year-old son, who defended his claim to the property in court, thereby removing any corruption suspicions. 

Anatoliy Danylenko was suspended from his duties in September after Nashi Groshi, an investigative TV project, reported that 140 hectares of land and ponds in the Kyiv Oblast’s Vasylkiv district had been illegally privatized by a firm that used to be owned by Danylenko’s son Vyacheslav. The project also investigated a nearby luxury estate owned by Anatoliy Danylenko. According to public finance watchdog Nashi Groshi, a related project, Vyacheslav Danylenko also owns about five hectares of forestland in the village of Vorzel in the Kyiv Oblast. It was also discovered that companies linked to Anatoliy Danylenko’s family were running a real estate business in Kyiv.

But the outcome of the probe wasn't accepted by everyone. “These developments add to the mountain of evidence that it’s business as usual in the Ukrainian government, namely nepotism and corruption,” Zenon Zawada of Concorde Capital commented on the SBU verdict and the revelation of Danylenko's relations to Yarema (they are related through godchildren). Concorde also reported in October that an investigation into allegations against Danylenko was entrusted to Ihor Biletsky, allegedly a close friend who owed his appointment to Danylenko.

Prosecutor General Yarema has been criticized for failing to make progress involving high-profile criminal cases since his appointment on June 19. According to the Kyiv Post, Yegor Sobolev, head of the non-governmental Lustration Committee, warned back in July that Yarema got the post “to preserve and spearhead the (corrupt) schemes” that have flourished in Ukraine for years and accelerated under the deposed administration of former president Viktor Yanukovych.

What followed Sobolev’s claim proved such fears to be justified. In September, news portal reported on Yarema’s brother Oleksandr’s ties with a suspected mafia boss. Also in September, Yarema’s 26-year-old son Valeriy became head of the real estate registry department at the State Registration Service. “The list of cronies who had allegedly made it into the Prosecutor General's Office under Yarema's protection and discovered by Ukraine's media has been snowballing since his appointment. It includes many names who are linked to ex-President Viktor Yanukovych's regime, among others,” the Kyiv Post wrote in October.

Anatoliy Danylenko’s clearance of all the suspicions means the current government’s approach to corruption is no different than that of its predecessors in the Yanukovych administration, given that Yarema is a direct appointment of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Zenon Zawada of Concorde Capital said. “However, the first protests demanding Yarema’s resignation surfaced last week, and we expect accelerating public demonstrations against the corruption in the Poroshenko administration, even earlier than the spring. We have little confidence in the president to implement the changes Ukraine needs, a view that we expect will spread fast and pose a challenge to his presidency 'to shape up or ship out'.”

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