He said he had submitted documents confirming the payments to the National Anti-Coruption Bureau. Trepak added that he could not name specific people involved because that could damage the investigation. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau confirmed receiving the documents in its May 28 statement.
Previously Yanukovych and the Party of Regions denied various corruption accusations against them.
The press offices of the Party of Regions and the Opposition Bloc, its main successor, did not reply to requests for comment, while several ex-top officials of the party were not available.
“The investigation of these materials will be a test for the National Anti-Corruption Bureau,” Trepak said. “It will either be a powerful anti-corruption body or will turn into a tame political tool, like other law enforcement agencies.”
He said the documents confirmed “the authorities’ all-encompassing corruption.”
“A major part of these materials is a spreadsheet of corrupt payments that were regularly made to the Party of Regions’ off-the-book accounting system,” he added.
Bribes worth $500,000 or $1 million were typical and often bribes worth as much as $5 million, $8 million and even $20 million were paid in cash,” Trepak said.
He also said that the documents covered the terms of several presidents, prime ministers and parliaments.
The documentary evidence concerns hundreds of people, including dozens of top officials, he went on. These include ministers, heads of agencies, Verkhovna Rada members, civic activists, representatives of international organizations, top judges, including those of the Supreme Administrative Court and the Constitutional Court, and the Central Election Commission, he said.
The bribes were received by both pro-government and opposition parties under Yanukovych, Trepak added.
According to Trepak, the Party of Regions allocated “colossal” under-the-table payments to buy the loyalty of law enforcment agencies, including the infamous Berkut riot police.
Trepak said the materials would also help to clarify the circumstances of the murders and suicides of Party of Regions officials following the 2013-2014 EuroMaidan Revolution.
The evidence may breathe new life into the investigations into Yanukovych’s usurpation of power, Trepak said, adding that now the investigations have subsided and may even have been buried.
The documents prove that “Yanukovych came to power unlawfully and was not the legitimate president of Ukraine,” Trepak said, arguing that the 2010 presidential election was rigged in a way similar to the 2004 one.
Moreover, the materials show that then-President Viktor Yushchenko helped Yanukovych come to power, according to Trepak.
The evidence casts doubt on the legitimacy of the authorities during the period that they concern, he said.
“The materials prove that the authorities remained corrupt all the way through as presidents, cabinets and parliaments replaced each other,” Trepak argued. “The methods of obtaining power also remained the same: bribery, deception, rigging and intimidation.”
Specifically, similar corrupt and manipulative tools were used during parliamentary elections in 2007 under Yushchenko and in 2012 under Yanukovych, he added.
He also said that the Yanukovych regime’s alleged crimes included embezzlement of government funds, smuggling, seizure of businesses, banking fraud and money laundering.
“Today we can already say that the investigations into (the Yanukovych regime’s) crimes have mostly failed,” he said. “Some of them have died from the legal standpoint, while the legal prospects of the remaining ones are rather vague.”
As of now, not a single corruption case against Yanukovych and his allies has been sent to court.
“Many believe these cases have just been sold,” Trepak argued. “These theories make sense because these cases could have been a subject of business and political deals, given their juicy character.”
The documents expose not only the Yanukovych regime’s corruption but also that of incumbent officials who were linked to Yanukovych’s power structure, Trepak said.
Moreover, the documents expose relations between some EuroMaidan leaders and Yanukovych’s regime, Trepak said.
He said the evidence would “allow us to look at these meetings (between Yanukovych and opposition leaders during the EuroMaidan Revolution) from a different angle and understand the true moving forces behind them and their orchestrators.”
“The foundation of corruption, which reached its peak under Yanukovych, has not been destroyed,” he went on. “The main corrupt officials remain unpunished. Moreover, many of them are deeply integrated into the current government.”
He said that “shadow schemes in the economy, banking and customs have been restored and re-launched.”
“The institution of smotryachshie (people informally charged with overseeing corrupt schemes) has been restored,” Trepak continued. “The corrupt regime didn’t disappear. Moreover, it is getting more and more entrenched every day.”
The principles of government institutions and the methods of decision making remained the same, Trepak said.
“Ukraine’s paradox is that its people has twice carried out a revolution (in 2004 and in 2013-2014) but did not bring it to a logical conclusion and allowed the authorities to reassert themselves again after a while,” he added.
Trepak, formerly a deputy head of the Security Service of Ukraine and head of its anti-corruption department, resigned last November, saying that he could no longer work because then-Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin was blocking the bribery case against top prosecutors Oleksandr Korniyets and Volodymyr Shapakin. Trepak was replaced as head of the anti-corruption department with Pavlo Demchyna, an ally of President Petro Poroshenko’s “grey cardinal” Ihor Kononenko.
Kyiv Post staff writer Oleg Sukhov can be reached at [email protected]
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