Despite the sweeping sanctions imposed by Ukrainian authorities, Russian-Ukrainian businessman Pavel Fuks has celebrated his 50th birthday in a luxurious fashion by imitating a Venetian carnival, according to a Nov. 3 investigation by the Ukrainska Pravda online media.
In June, the National Security and Defense Council imposed sanctions on Fuks due to alleged violations during the acquisition of dozens of mineral exploration licenses by his Golden Derrick firm under ex-President Viktor Yanukovych. The sanctions included a freeze on his assets, restrictions on trade and a ban on flights within Ukraine.
Fuks’ luxurious party appears to confirm the claims of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s critics that the council’s sanctions have little impact on sanctioned individuals. Other people subject to the sanctions have been able to bypass them as well.
The President’s Office and the National Security and Defense Council did not respond to requests for comment.
Fuks’ birthday was celebrated on Oct. 27 at a golf club in Kozyn, a high-end suburb of Kyiv where the wealthiest elite live.
The venue for the birthday was a copy of the Doge’s Palace on Piazza San Marco, the bell tower of St. Mark’s cathedral and Rialto Bridge in Venice. The interior of the venue was a sumptuous imitation of the Doge’s Palace as well.
The structures appear to have been built specifically for the party, according to the Ukrainska Pravda investigation.
The birthday cake was also made to resemble the Doge’s Palace, and drones were used to create a picture of carnival masks and Fuks’ initials in the sky.
The party was attended by Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko; businessman Vitaly Khomutynnyk; ex-head of the National Police Serhiy Knyazev; Viktor Barsuk, a lawyer for Oleksandr Hranovsky, an influential ex-lawmaker and top ally of ex-President Petro Poroshenko; real estate mogul Vagif Aliyev and Oleh Horokhovsky, the co-founder of Monobank.
Klitchko confirmed that he had paid a visit to Fuks to congratulate him on his birthday. He said that he had gotten acquainted with Fuks in 2015 during negotiations on buying land owned by Fuks for a memorial in Kyiv’s Babyn Yar neighborhood, where between 100,000 and 150,000 Jews and other prisoners were killed by the Nazis in 1941-1943.
While he was leaving the party, Fuks showed a “fuck you” sign to an Ukrainska Pravda journalist who reported on the event.
“I did not expect my friends to give such a gift to me,” Fuks told Ukrainska Pravda in a written message later. “I was shocked because I don’t like to celebrate my birthdays. Especially given the fact that I’m subject to sanctions. As you understand, I’m not in the mood for that.”
He added that he did not know who had paid for the birthday party.
Fuks, who was born in Kharkiv, has lived in Russia, Ukraine and Israel.
He is the founder of Russian real estate developer Mos City Group. He has been involved in the real estate, banking, oil and gas industries in Russia and Ukraine.
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