The Solomyansky District Court in Kyiv annulled the ruling of Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAP) to close a criminal proceeding on the alleged illegal licensing of companies belonging to ex-Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky’s companies, according to Liga.net.

The news agency cited an unnamed law enforcement source, with an attached picture of a court ruling from June 15.

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The court satisfied a complaint from lawmaker Tetyana Chornovol and the decision can’t be appealed.

The criminal proceeding opened in June 2015 against the employees of the Ministry of Ecology of Ukraine, and Zlochevsky in particular, as they allegedly illegally issued oil and gas licenses to the companies that belonged to Zlochevsky in 2010-2012. The proceeding was closed in August.

Chief Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytsky said there was no proof to continue with the case against Zlochevsky.

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“We made this decision with SAP, and I am not hiding it,” Kholodnytsky told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s “Schemes,” an investigative TV-program. “The investigating authority did not obtain sufficient data – both for a notice of suspicion and for ending the proceedings. There was no proof of a crime.”

Zlochevsky was appointed by ex-President Viktor Yanukovych and currently owns the biggest number of oil and gas licenses in Ukraine – a whopping 38 permits, according to the Anti-Corruption Action Center. He is also the shareholder of oil and gas company Burisma Holding Ltd.

The criminal proceedings against Zlochevsky have been first opened in 2014 as he was charged with unlawful enrichment. He fled Ukraine shortly after and was put on the wanted list by the General Prosecutor’s Office.

However, he was later taken off the list in 2016. The unlawful enrichment case against Zlochevsky was transformed into a tax evasion case. Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko closed the case on tax evasion against Zlochevsky in January 2017, with Burisma paying Hr 180 million to the budget.

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In 2015, a British court had found insufficient evidence of financial corruption against Zlochevsky and unblocked his bank accounts with some $23 million.

The Burisma Group announced in January 2017 that all procedural and judicial proceedings against Zlochevsky and his operating companies in Ukraine were closed. This decision is the result of “many months of mutual work between the two teams – the General Prosecutor’s Office and Burisma Group,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported in February.

Investigative journalist Dmytro Gnap published a recording of a conversation with fugitive lawmaker Oleksandr Onyshchenko, where he said that Zlochevsky paid $100 million for closing a criminal case against him and unblocking his assets in Ukraine.

The journalists also investigated the relations between Zlochevsky and companies that Burisma is partnering with. Zlochevsky’s Burisma Group had supplied natural gas to companies owned by President Petro Poroshenko and his top allied lawmakers Ihor Kononenko and Oleh Gladkovsky, according to “Schemes” in 2017.

Onyshchenko released an alleged recording that implicates Poroshenko and Zlochevsky in corrupt agreements.

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Some Ukrainian media reported that Zlochevsky returned to Ukraine.

 

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