On July 30, the High Anti-Corruption Court transferred the so-called Forester’s House in Sukholucchia, that allegedly belonged to Yanukovych, to Asset Recovery and Management Agency. This decision was made as part of the case on the appropriation of 17 ha of public forest land.
We have already started forgetting this part, am I right? During his “reign” and for a couple of years afterwards, Ukrainians remembered the stories of arrogance and greed about Yanukovych’s hunting grounds, blocked roads and excessively opulent lifestyle.
If we leave the emotions out and focus on the data, the decisions allege that Yanukovych and “unidentified individuals” developed a criminal scheme to illegally alienate a land plot on the territory of Sukholucchia village council. This was back in 2007-2009, when Yanukovych was the Prime Minister and Yushchenko was President.
This could cause a particularly large damage to the national budget. Where do we stand now? So much time has passed; yet, there is no court decision yet. What is more, the case is still being investigated. First, it was handled by the PGO Special Investigations Department. Then Prosecutor General Lutsenko stripped them of the right to investigate Yanukovych’s case. In 2019, the case was transferred to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau.
This is one of the more obvious reasons why this extremely expensive asset had not been transferred to the Asset Recovery and Management Agency (ARMA), which has been created for this purpose exactly. Investigators of Pecherskyi District Court seized the hotel and restaurants on the land back in March 2015. In May 2016, they seized the property inside.
Another obvious reason is that the hearings were postponed numerous times because it was impossible to notify the property owner and ensure his participation in the hearing.
What did the court seize and what is being transferred to the ARMA now?
The property of the hotel and catering complex includes a holiday home (464.7 sq.m) and a guest house (745.6 sq.m), a pier of almost 130 sq.m, houses for “temporary rest,” gazebos, a den for hunting dogs (~255 sq.m) and even a chapel.
Also a checkpoint, buildings for security guards and for equipment… As for the property inside, you can read it in the decision itself. But personally, I did not have the patience. First, because they go into so much detail, which is equal parts admirable and frustrating. Second, because the language is special to say the least.
For example, “stuffed wild boar, stuffed moose, air conditioner, 2 wooden tables, stuffed fox on a wooden stand, figurine on wooden stand, 15 soft chairs, wooden duck figurine on wooden stand, bar cart, leather boar head, deer figurine on wooden stand, wooden drawers, player layout, fireplace, wooden coffee table — small, wooden coffee table — big, picture “dog in the manger”, 2 sofas — soft, 2 chairs — soft, air conditioner, 2 audio speakers, brown leather, stuffed wolf, sketch of a “pike” fish, stuffed boar, 3 soft chairs, stuffed deer, fridge Liebherr, bar counter, 2 bar chairs, bar cabinet, wooden statuette of a wild boar and a tiger, stuffed owls and mink on a wooden beam, a painting of birds and dogs, a cupboard for drinks, decorative chandelier with horn elements…”
It is now unclear what remains from the hundreds of items. It is also unclear what the ARMA is going to do. The Agency can announce a tender for the Manager of this property, but it can also sell it and put the funds on a deposit. They should choose an option that will help preserve the economic value of the asset as much as possible. That’s why the Agency was created. They need to wait for a final decision in the case and then either send the funds or the asset to the government, or give back to the owner if he is acquitted.
The case will be resolved in court one day. Right?
[…] stuffed wild boar, stuffed moose, air conditioner, 2 wooden tables, stuffed fox on a wooden stand […], picture “dog in the manger”, 2 sofas — soft, 2 chairs — soft…
from the description of property in the case file