Under protection from guards of the EuroMaidan revolution, who now control Yanukovych’s 140-hectare luxury compound 20 kilometers north of Kyiv, the journalists gathered the documents and created the online database yanukovychleaks.org.
The documents were found in Mezhyhirya, the former president’s now-nationalized multimillion-dollar estate, which had been guarded like a fortress until Yanukovych fled in a hurry late on Feb. 21. The next day, he was impeached as president by parliament. Some 160 folders of his files were dumped hastily in the water on his way out, but were recovered quickly by divers.
Journalists are now looking for evidence of embezzlement and excess by Yanukovych and his cronies, corruption that, according to new Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk on Feb. 27, cost Ukraine as much as $70 billion over the last three years.