Vladimir Galanternik, an influential businessman from Odesa, has been put on a wanted list in an embezzlement case, according to a notice published on the Interior Ministry’s website.
Galanternik, who could not be reached for comment, disappeared in Kharkiv on Aug. 31 and is “hiding” from law enforcement, according to the ministry.
In October Galanternik and Odesa Mayor Gennady Trukhanov were charged by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine and general prosecutor’s office with organized crime, embezzlement, money laundering and abuse of power.
The charges are part of embezzlement cases concerning the purchase of Odesa’s Krayan factory building and the city’s Zastava military airfield, the unlawful acquisition of Odesa land belonging to the Shkilny airfield and the unlawful allocation of municipal land to Greenwood. Greenwood is a firm controlled by Galanternik, according to the Slovo i Dilo online newspaper and Odesa-based activists.
Local anti-corruption activists have accused Trukhanov and his alleged business partners Galanternik and Alexander Angert of having turned Odesa into their private fiefdom, awarding the most lucrative land and municipal contracts to their own companies.
Trukhanov has repeatedly denied the accusations of wrongdoing. Galanternik and Angert were not immediately available for comment and have not responded to multiple Kyiv Post inquiries in recent years.
An Italian police dossier from 1998 identifies Trukhanov and Angert as members of a mafia gang.
Galanternik is believed to have been the power behind the throne in Odesa for years, effectively controlling key top officials and the municipal budget, according to local activists. However, in recent years Trukhanov and Galanternik had a falling out, Odesa-based activists say.
Another 13 individuals, mostly Odesa municipal officials, were charged in October in the same case along with Trukhanov and Galanternik. A court refused to arrest Trukhanov, setting instead his bail at Hr 30 million ($1.1 million).
In 2018, NABU brought its first charges against Trukhanov in the Krayan case. He was accused of organizing a city council vote to buy the old Krayan factory building for Hr 185 million in September 2016, after it had been purchased at the beginning of the year by another firm for only Hr 4 million, suggesting the deal was a scheme to embezzle money from the city.
In 2019, Odesa’s Malinovsky District Court acquitted Trukhanov in the Krayan embezzlement case. Local anti-corruption activists lambasted the court ruling as a political bargain aimed at whitewashing Trukhanov. They argue that the Odesa court was biased in his favor.
The High Anti-Corruption Court’s appeal chamber overturned Trukhanov’s acquittal in February 2021. Now the case is being considered again by the High Anti-Corruption Court, which may result in either a conviction or acquittal.
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