Experts of Transparency International Ukraine analyzed all available public information about the participants of the competition for the selection of a new NABU director and identified five candidates to whom the public has the most questions.
These are Mykhailo Burtovyi, Oleksandr Vikul, Vitalii Vlasiuk, Semen Kryvonos, and Oleksandr Rudenko.
Thus, according to the 2021 declaration, NABU detective Mykhailo Burtovyi kept USD 54,800 in cash, and his wife, who works at PrivatBank, kept USD 50,700 (in hryvnia equivalent today, it is more than UAH 3.7 mln). Moreover, in the declaration for 2022, the amount of foreign currency cash of the candidate increased by about USD 20,000, but Burtovyi did not specify the source from which he could receive such a profit.
There are also questions about Burtovyi’s family. According to YouContol, the mother of candidate Oleksandra Burtova owns more than 60 land plots in Cherkasy Oblast. And since she was a member of the Berezivka village council of the Mankivskyi district of Cherkasy Oblast, it is interesting how Oleksandra Burtova acquired this land. Moreover, according to the questionnaire, Burtovyi’s sister and brother served in the National Police in Kyiv. Therefore, it is important to understand whether there were cases during the service of Burtovyi and his relatives when they had the opportunity to influence each other’s career advancement in terms of their powers.
Oleksandr Vikul, Head of the State Interests Representation Department for Land Relations of the Vinnytsia Regional Prosecutor’s Office, noted in his 2021 declaration that he had almost EUR 48,000 in foreign currency accounts. At the same time, he wrote in the questionnaire that the source of these funds had no connection with his work in the prosecutor’s office, but he didn’t indicate any other source of funds, except for wages, in the declaration.
There are also questions about the real estate of Vikul: in the register of ownership of real estate, the value of his apartment is indicated at UAH 39,018, but in the declaration of the candidate for 2021, this same apartment is estimated at UAH 100,000.
The candidate’s views on corruption in general are also interesting. On his Facebook page, Oleksandr Vikul has a post, where he writes the following (the author’s spelling has been preserved): “Why do people abroad believe that we have corruption everywhere? It’s because we tell them about it all the time. We take the money to counter it. We expose “thousands” of dishonest people. <…> And there are very few words about the fact that there are HONEST officials in Ukraine. How can one refute the statement about the existence of corruption? — In no way!!? It is impossible to prove the absence of anything. If there is nothing, there is no proof of it.”
These statements give the impression that, according to Vikul, there is no corruption in Ukraine, but someone is “inventing” it. And therefore, it is surprising why he is applying for the post of Director of the anti-corruption body.
The head of the State Inspectorate of Architecture and Urban Planning of Ukraine, Semen Kryvonos, won the competition for the position of director of the Odesa Territorial Department of the NABU in 2021, but refused the position and returned to work in the customs. Back then, the candidate explained his refusal from the post by his unwillingness to engage in a polemic with journalists of Slidstvo.Info, who published an investigation into him. Thus, according to journalists, with a small income, Kryvonos and his wife managed to become owners of seven and a half hectares of land, as well as a house and apartment with an area of 80 sq.m. near Kyiv. Since the investigation, Kryvonos acquired another 10 land plots, so, the potential director of the NABU will have to explain the origin of this property.
The head of the “RO LEX” lawyer association Oleksandr Rudenko notes in his declaration that since 2002, he has an apartment in free use, the owner of which is Khamster Club LLC. In addition, the date of registration of the company is a year later than the candidate began to use the specified housing, given the information in his declaration.
Rudenko also notes that he has USD 70,000 and EUR 30,000 in cash. For the whole of last year, neither the applicant for the post of the NABU Director nor members of his family had any income. A logical question arises: can the candidate confirm the legality of the origin of his declared savings.
In addition, there is one interesting detail: Oleksandr Rudenko caused an accident (for which he received a fine of UAH 850) on a car that he had not declared. Neither did he mention that he was in a contractual relationship on the provision of legal assistance with the political parties “Third force” and “Ukrainians together” from 2018 to 2020.
Candidate Vitalii Vlasiuk will have to explain whether he combined his work as deputy head of the Kyiv Regional Military Administration with doing business in LLCs that provide legal services — EPravo, Magnum Partners. And also explain whether he participates in the work of these enterprises, and if so, how.
From 2017 to 2020, Vlasiuk held the position of Deputy Chair of the ARMA Public Council. It was during this period that Anton Yanchuk was the head of the Agency, who was recently served with charges of abuse of power and embezzlement of more than UAH 426 mln. In addition, Vlasiuk is the head of the Asset Tracing and Recovery Association. Among the founders of this organization is Volodymyr Pavlenko, ex-deputy of Vitalii Syhydyna, ex-head of the ARMA. Vlasiuk himself in his social networks has repeatedly criticized the activities of the ARMA.
He also had misunderstandings with the NACP. When the candidate worked as a lawyer, he represented the Altayur company, which provided servers for placing information from the register of electronic declarations. The cost of the rent was higher than the cost of the leased equipment itself. Therefore, the NABU is investigating a possible collusion of the ex-leadership of the NACP and the Altayur company. So, the questions arise, what the candidate’s perspective regarding electronic declaration is, and what his position on the episode with “Altayur” is. In general, it is unclear how he, as the probable head of the NABU, plans to establish cooperation with anti-corruption institutions, the work of which he has repeatedly criticized.
In addition, the twin brother of the candidate Vladyslav is currently an advisor to the head of the Presidential Office. The future Director of the NABU will investigate high-profile corruption, and among the defendants may well be officials of the PO. How, in this case, Vitalii Vlasiuk will be able to maintain objectivity is a good question.
We hope that during the integrity interviews, the participants of the competition will be able to give comprehensive answers to the above questions.
Learn more about the property, connections, and reputation of candidates from our material.
Let us remind you that integrity interviews with candidates for the position of the NABU Director will be conducted on February 20–24. When communicating with the participants of the competition, the commission will consider the compliance of the income of candidates with their expenses and property, the lifestyle of the participants of the competition, the level of their professional ethics, political neutrality, and other possible violations of integrity.
In total, 21 candidates passed to the final stage of selection. According to the results of testing for knowledge of legislation and general abilities, 22 people had to pass to the interview stage, but after additional verification, the selection commission found that Ruslan Habrielian did not have enough leadership experience, so, he was not allowed to participate further in the competition.
This publication was prepared with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Transparency International Ukraine and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.