The British government froze $23 million that the ex-minister, whose whereabouts remain unknown, kept in United Kingdom banks, Yarema added. Forbes Ukraine estimated Zlochevsky’s overall fortune at $156 million.
Prosecutors refused to reveal the details of the investigation over the phone and haven’t replied to an e-mailed request for comment.
Zlochevsky, who also served several terms in the parliament, is believed to control Burisma Holding Limited, a producer of oil and gas in Ukraine. A Cyprus-registered entity owns 20 licenses for hydrocarbon extraction and claims to control a quarter of the nation’s private oil and gas market. The company’s board of directors includes Hunter Biden, son of the incumbent U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, as well as Alexander Kwasniewski, ex-president of Poland.
The Ecology Ministry hasn’t replied to the Kyiv Post’s email request to tell whether Burisma still possess the production licenses.
Anna Babinets, an investigative journalist who covered Zlochevsky’s affairs, wrote he was monetizing his ministerial position through controlling the licensing of oil and gas extraction.
On Aug. 19, 2014, head of the Anti-Corruption Action Center Vitaliy Shabunin wrote an official letter to Yarema stating that private energy companies Pari and Esko-Pivnich also belong to Burisma Holding.
He added that it is likely that Ukrnaftoburinnya, another oil developer, belongs to Zlochevsky as well. In July 2014, Dnipropetrovsk billionaire governor Ihor Kolomoisky was said to take over 45 percent of the company’s shares. Shabunin wrote that permits for these companies were given without a tender and during Zlochevsky’s ministerial cadence.
Burisma Holding did not provide their list of licenses and did not say if Zlochevsky abused his power.
An owner of a Rolls-Royce and two Bentley Continentals at a time of his ministerial service, Zlochevsky is also known for having an extremely luxurious 4.5 hectare-large residence near Kyiv that he owned through Velyki Klyuchi, a private company.
TV journalist Natalie Sedletska exposes the lavish residence of ex-Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky.
Zlochevsky kept visiting the residence even after the EuroMaidan Revolution overthrew his political patron – President Viktor Yanukovych, locals told Radio Liberty in October 2014.
Tetyana Tymochko, an environmental activist, accused the former ecology minister of severe violations of the ecology laws while constructing the residence.
Kyiv Post staff writer Ilya Timtchenko can be reached at [email protected].
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