Leshchenko, one of Ukraine’s most prominent investigative journalists who
writes for the Ukrainska Pravda web site, filed a lawsuit claiming that his right
for access to public information has been violated. Leshchenko conducted a major investigation on how the Mezhyhirya estate north of Kyiv, which once belonged to the state, became, as he
claims, the president’s private property.
Critics have been accusing President Viktor Yanukovych
for years of illegally obtaining the estate that stretches over 140 hectares of land. They maintain it was enabled through a series of transactions conducted by various state officials, including Yanukovych himself.
When Yanukovych became prime minister for the first
time in 2002, the status of the estate was changed from “state residence” to
“state dacha.” In 2003, Yanukovych’s Donetsk-based charity fund Vidrodzhennya
Ukrainy (Revival of Ukraine) rented the house and the land around it.