Nestor Shufrych, a member of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament) in the pro-Russian party Platform for Life and Peace, owns vast fortunes registered in the name of proxies, according to a TV exposé by the investigative journalist project Bihus.info and the Anticorruption Action Center.
His assets, primarily real estate, can be divided into two groups. The first one is property owned by the parliamentarian himself, his family members (wife, father, son), or his personal assistant. The second group is owned by companies ultimately controlled by persons from the first group.
However, despite having amassed large estates registered by shell companies and front persons, Shufrych is likely to avoid responsibility for allegedly falsifying his public asset declarations because the Verkhovna Rada has not yet renewed the law on mandatory submission of public officials’ asset declarations and their monitoring.
Who is Shufrych?
Hailing from the Zakarpattia region, on the border with Hungary, Shufrych has long had a reputation as a western Ukrainian politician extremely well connected with pro-Russian figures. Most notoriously, he has been linked to Putin’s close friend Viktor Medvedchuk, who was arrested and swapped along with 55 other Russians for 205 Ukrainian POWs in September of last year.
He has also been involved in several televised brawls. One was in 2019 at the Verkhovna Rada after he tore down a poster calling for the arrest of Medvedchuk. Another incident came six days before the full-scale invasion last year, when Yuriy Butusov, the war reporter and editor of Censor.net, accused him of treason.
Shortly after the full-scale invasion Shufrych was detained on March 4, 2022 for photographing a check point near Kyiv, but then was released.
How rich is he?
The journalists at Bihus.info have uncovered a sophisticated network of shell companies and front persons including: four estates in Koncha-Zaspa, an upscale Kyiv suburb; six apartments in the center of Kyiv; the Kyiv River Port; apartments in Odesa; agricultural companies with thousands of land plots in the Lviv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk regions; hunting grounds in Sumy, Zakarpattia and Kyiv regions; land, apartments and buildings in Uzhhorod, Shufrych’s native city; stables near Kyiv; an estate in Crimea next door to one owned by Medvedchuk, etc.
Some estates are registered in the name of a Hungarian citizen who recently worked for Russian energy company Lukoil, according to Bihus.info.
The 56-year-old Shufrych has been a member of the Verkhovna Rada since 1998, ensconced in the ranks of various pro-Russian political parties (“Party of Regions,” United Social Democratic Party of Ukraine, “Opposition Block”). He is currently the head of the Verkhovna Rada’s Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information Policy.
“For society, it is a bad sign that someone who had, or I am sure, still has a pro-Russian position is heading a committee in the parliament,” said Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, Deputy Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Policy Committee of Verkhovna Rada, in an exclusive interview with Kyiv Post.
“Services” of front persons have allowed Shufrych withhold the disclosure of all his wealth in his public asset declarations for years, the Anticorruption Action Center noted. However, Shufrych is unlikely to bear responsibility for alleged falsification of his declarations. He did not submit his 2021 and 2022 declarations because Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has not yet renewed mandatory submission of public officials’ asset declarations and their monitoring. Draft law # 8071, which called upon them to correct the situation, was registered in parliament long ago but has yet to be approved, anticorruption activists lamented.
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