Media report of Sytnik getting an apartment for bribes

18:00, 14 February 2020
Politics
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Artem Sytnyk / REUTERS

Investigative journalist Volodymyr Boyko has released a video report, telling the story of NABU Director Artem Sytnyk having received an apartment in a new apartment block in Brovary by exerting pressure on the developer and through funding from a "charity fund".

The documents provided by the journalist suggest that Artem Sytnyk, who heads an anti-corruption body, is himself being investigated for obtaining illegal proceeds. In this situation, Sytnyk's stay in office, after he has been put in the NAPC register of corrupt officials in another case, is becoming increasingly toxic for President Zelensky, who has vowed tackling corruption in Ukraine, Obozrevatel reports citing Ukranian News.

Journalist Volodymyr Boyko spoke about the circumstances of this case in an investigation published on the Koza Nostra channel. The journalist cites documents – agreements, court judgments, interrogation papers, and accounting documents attesting to the Sytnik's involvement in acts of corruption. In April 2008, CEO of Brovary Factory Building Plant, which had been developing the residential area in Brovary, was visited by Prosecutor of Kyiv region, Oleksandr Hardetsky, along with his nephew, Serhiy Shcherbina, who at that time held the post of Brovary's interdistrict prosecutor.

"High officials demanded that the plant sell two apartments to Kyiv region's prosecutors with a 60% discount. The harassed plant director consented, and on November 14, 2008, a preliminary contract was concluded, according to which Sytnyk was to receive an 82.6 sq.m apartment after the block would have been put into operation," says Boyko.

According to the preliminary contract, which was released by the journalist, head of department at the Kyiv region's prosecutor's office, Artem Sytnyk, was supposed to get an apartment in Brovary at a symbolic price of UAH 3,580 per square meter, that is, with a 60% discount, which falls under the scope of Article 364 of the Criminal Code "Abuse of power or official position", which provides for three to six years in prison. It is noted that NABU, which Sytnyk heads, has exclusive jurisdiction over investigation of this type of crime.

In the preliminary contract, the apartment's price was estimated at UAH 288,000. But Sytnik contributed only UAH 63,000, while the rest of the sum in the amount of UAH 225,000, on November 17, 2008, was donated by the Vilna Hromada Human Rights Foundation charity. The journalist has shown the relevant accounting papers to confirm his claim. In 2010, Sytnyk took up ownership of the apartment. To make sure no unnesessary questions arise regarding the legality of acquisition of the apartment by Sytnyk, the sales contract was registered by a public notary Shcherbina, who is the wife of the Brovary-based inter-district prosecutor, the investigation said. The journalist also notes that Sytnik paid no taxes from the deal, that's despite the fact that the apartment was practically gifted to him by a charity fund.

"Artem Sytnyk has become an active participant in the scam, which he arranged together with Hardetsky. To collect money from persons targeted in criminal cases Sytnyk investigated, a charity fund was used with the pompous name "Vilna Hromada Human Rights Foundation", to which these persons were supposed to transfer money to safeguard loyalty of the prosecutor's office," Boyko says. The organization's was Hordetsky and Sytnyk's crony in land plot deals, Kozyn Village Head Valeriy Hartyk, while his wife Lilia Hartyk headed the Fund." At the same time, he refers to the letter by Deputy Head of the Verkhovna Rada committee on legislative support of law enforcement, Stretovych, of November 16, 2009, to the then president Yushchenko and SBU Head Nalyvaychenko, in which these charges are detailed and the deal is mentioned where Sytnyk got to own an apartment in Brovary.

Also, the journalist saw interrogation papers of Dudar, the plant CEO, who was forced to sell the apartments to prosecutors for nothing.

"At a meeting, A.S. Hardetsky asked me to sell to his subordinates three residential apartments, which were being built by the Brovary Factory Building Plant in the town of Brovary. A.S. Hardetsky said verbatim: 'How can you help my employees buy three apartments?'" Dudar told investigators with the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine as part of the criminal investigation opened on May 24, 2017. The plant CEO also said that the actual price per square meter at the time of that meeting was about UAH 8,000, while real estate prices at that period were constantly growing. Two apartments at a price per square meter at UAH 3,500 at the insistence of prosecutor Shcherbina were sold through a scheme with a charity fund, the journalist notes.

The report says that, according to the Unified State Register of Judicial Decisions, funds used to buy an apartment for Sytnyk came from UAH 465,000 that had been received to the Vilna Hromada Human Rights Foundation charity fund's account on September 19, 2008, from LLC Orslana. It was at the same time when the Sytnik-led investigative department of the Kyiv region prosecutor's office investigated criminal case No. 471022 where first deputy chief of the Land resources department in Obukhiv district, Kyiv region, was charged with receiving a bribe in the amount of $7,300 for assigning a cadastral number to the land plot of LLC Orslana in Obukhiv district, Kyiv Region. This case was investigated by the current head of the Main Detectives Division at NABU, Andriy Kaluzhynsky. Artem Sytnyk represented the prosecutor's office in a court hearing on July 17, 2008, where an appeal was considered to the decision to initiate the case.

The conclusion drawn by the State Audit Service says that this form of housing investment for prosecutors Olefirenko and Sytnyk equals "obtaining illegal proceeds." But, according to the current legislation, the journalist recalls, only the prosecutor general can report suspicion to the NABU director. Today PG is Ruslan Ryaboshapka, who the report says is Artem Sytnyk's friend.

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