KyivPost

Probe needed

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July 21, 2011, 11:58 p.m. | Editorial — by Kyiv Post

Kyiv Post

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When evidence emerges as the recent discovery that Ukraine's president rented a helicopter and purchased an airplane from a company owned by someone close to the Yanukovych family, it must be investigated. The authorities’ desperation to prove there is no selective justice in Ukraine reached new heights of absurdity this week.

Pro-presidential officials and lawmakers touted the arrest of a functionary with minor connections to the authorities as evidence that they are fighting a battle against corruption, not just the opposition.

But, at the same time, law enforcers have ignored evidence in a report on leading news website Ukrainska Pravda that appears to show that large payments for President Viktor Yanukovych’s use of a helicopter and airplane went to a company – without a tender – linked to the president’s family.

Vasyl Volha, former head of the State Committee on the Regulation of the Financial Services Market, was arrested on July 19 on accusations of taking a $500,000 bribe.

Pro-presidential figures claimed this showed that the probes into opposition members, including former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, are part of a wider attempt to wipe out corruption, rather than a political assault.

However, Volha was never close to the president, or in his Party of Regions.

He is a former Socialist Party member who recently took part in a new left-wing political movement.

Meanwhile, leading Ukrainian journalist Serhiy Leshchenko published an investigation into the leasing of a helicopter and airplane for use by Yanukovych.

His investigation, if true, reveals enough evidence of high-level conflicts of interest, murky dealings and possible corruption to warrant an immediate investigation.

In the article, Leshchenko wrote that a helicopter and airplane used by the president were rented without a tender from a firm called Centeravia.

The chopper, according to Leshchenko, was rented at above market price. He added that the company was founded and, until recently, managed by Pavlo Lytovchenko, a lawmaker on the Kyiv regional council from the Party of Regions who is reportedly close to Yanukovych’s son.

Previous investigations by Leshchenko revealed Lytovchenko’s role in companies that acquired and developed the lion’s share of land at
Mezhyhiria, a luxurious compound outside Kyiv where Yanukovych lives.

Everyone knows that corruption is Ukraine’s most severe affliction, allowing leeches to suck the life out of businesses and ordinary citizens in order to provide themselves with lavish lifestyles.

When evidence emerges that this could reach as far as the president himself, it must be investigated fully.

Otherwise, there can be no other conclusion than that opposition members and current officials with limited connections to the president and his team are selected, while alleged abuses by Yanukovych and his cronies are ignored.

If the president and his allies have done nothing wrong, then they would have nothing to fear from an investigation.


But we don’t expect such a probe will happen, as Ukraine under Yanukovych appears to be swiftly becoming a country where impunity is the rule for the president, his family and oligarch friends, while the law and politically motivated prosecutions apply to those who oppose them.
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Anonymous July 22, 2011, 12:09 a.m.    

Kiev Post please do your part in exposing corruption. It seems there is enough around that the task should not be to difficult. Thanks you for supporting another journalists discovery. Please make some of your own...

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Anonymous July 22, 2011, 8:59 a.m.    

Super story pile the pressure

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Anonymous July 24, 2011, 8:18 a.m.    

Yes yes great point but a real issue is the governments of Ukraine are spending 100 of millions of dollars on a football match, which will serve as no benefit to the people of Ukraine, while the outside structure of buildings are simply decaying, for example holes in roofs, and the government is responsible for the repairs. The excuse, no money! Yes roads are being repaired yes a kilometer around the stadium and roads to and from the airport, so what.

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Anonymous July 22, 2011, 12:38 a.m.    

Robin Hood, Nottingham - &quot;Steal from the rich to give to the poor&quot;

Oleksa Dovbush, Pechenizhyn Kolomyia - &quot;Steal from the rich to give to the poor&quot;

Proffffeesssor Yanukonvikt, Donetsk Oblast - &quot;Steal from Ukrainian Nation to give to the PoR&quot;

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Anonymous July 22, 2011, 12:39 a.m.    

Kyiv Post stop picking on Ukraine's dynamic and hard working president, even though he claims to be just

an ordinary person with a newly acquired mansion.

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Anonymous July 22, 2011, 2:34 a.m.    

Well done KP. Keep your integrity. We are with you!

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Anonymous July 22, 2011, 5:10 a.m.    

BRAVO KP!... Nothing disinfects like sunlight. Keep the pressure on!

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Anonymous July 22, 2011, 6:07 a.m.    

Excellent exposure by the KP. Keep shining a lite on this corrupt

government!

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Anonymous July 22, 2011, 9:40 a.m.    

Welcome to Bela-Ukraine-rus or Zim-ukraine-bobway. As long as the IMF keeps the golden toilet paper coming and wiping the butts of these idiots... nothing will change.

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Anonymous July 23, 2011, 4:06 p.m.    

Right O Mate!

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Anonymous July 22, 2011, 1:32 p.m.    

Such covert dealings by Yanuk and the Party of Regions are no surprise but well known. They operate in an environment of secrecy and with complete disregard for the law. They are in total control of the courts, SBU, and the majority of news media outlets. With such controls they are free to steal and abuse their power without fear of reprisal. Yanuk, Herman, and the rest of the criminal clowns professed their commitment to fighting corruption but in reality it does not apply to those in power. Herman should explain to the citizens of Ukraine this new revelations involving the President of Ukraine and his family members. Without a doubt their exist a conflict of interest and abuse of power. These abuses by Yanuk and his cronies can not be disregarded but should be investigated and prosecuted to its fullest extend of the law. He continues to rob the citizens of Ukraine while telling them how wonderful things are in Ukraine. Just like the oil rig over payment, it will be hush up and nothing done in hopes that all will be forgotten. The news media has to follow these allege abuses of power and keep the citizens of Ukraine inform as well as the international community. The citizens of Ukraine are dealing with criminals in power of the government. Political persecution of the opposition is intended to keep the citizens from having fair and open election. Robin Hood (Yanuk) and his merry band of criminals (cronies) are robbing Ukraine blind.

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Anonymous July 22, 2011, 4:07 p.m.    

You are absolutely right that persistence by the media is needed to put pressure on the government. There needs to be more followup by the media on the oil rig case.

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Anonymous July 22, 2011, 8:05 p.m.    

Unfortunately, no investigations will be forthcoming.Whats mentioned in this article is only a tip of the ice-berg. The criminal family of Yanukonvict have amassed huge wealth before and at an accelerated pace after he became president.

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Anonymous July 23, 2011, 9:26 a.m.    

Yanuk has taken Ukraine into the sewers......

He has TOTAL CONTROL with his ILLEGAL PIANO PLAYER VOTING......

Wake up......

Stop the illegal piano voting in the Rada........

To those opposition lawmakers, who are boycotting the Rada....you are as much to blame as the piano players.......

Get your ass into the Rada and put a stop to the ILLEGAL PIANO PLAYER VOTING.........

R

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Anonymous July 23, 2011, 6:16 p.m.    

Ukraine need probes like this EVERY DAY!

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Anonymous July 25, 2011, 7:38 p.m.    

How about checking into the Telecom deal. Ynukonvicts family have managed to cheat their way into aquiring a substantial part of that deal!

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