On the evening of February 23, a panel of judges of the High Anti-Corruption Court delivered a verdict on Yurii Hrymchak, former deputy Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison with full confiscation of property. 

This was the last sentence in peacetime because a full-scale war began in a few hours. However, now the Anti-Corruption Court continues to work. Since February 24, the first instance of the HACC has managed to deliver 8 verdicts. What verdicts were these, who was sentenced, and why? Let us tell you.

The case of the prosecutor and judge from Luhansk oblast

Persons involved: Kostiantyn Pyvovarov, ex-prosecutor of Sievierodonetsk; Olena Horbatenko, local ex-judge.

Back in 2015, the case of Pyvovarov and Horbatenko attracted the attention of the media and the public. For a bribe, they had to deliver a milder verdict on the defendants in one case. In July 2015, Pyvovarov was approached by a lawyer with a corresponding request. He gave the prosecutor USD 5,000, and Pyvovarov gave USD 1,500 to Horbatenko. The lawyer was to give another USD 1,000 after the verdict came into force. On April 19, 2022, the HACC sentenced both of them on the basis of a plea agreement. 

Pyvovarov during detention

Punishment: the panel of judges of the Anti-Corruption Court released Pyvovarov and Horbatenko from the main punishment — 5 years of imprisonment with probation, having established a probationary period of 3 years. They were also deprived of the right to hold positions in state authorities and local self-government bodies for three (Pyvovarov) and one (Horbatenko) years.

The case of the Institute of Titanium

Person involved: Andrii Rachkov, ex-first deputy director general of the State Titanium Research and Design Institute.

This case was the first to be referred by the SAPO and NABU to the High Anti-Corruption Court. During 2012-2013, Andrii Rachkov ensured the transfer of USD 1.258 mln of the Institute to offshore accounts for works and services that had not been provided. NABU detectives and SAPO prosecutors investigated this case from November 2017 to August 2019.

Punishment: in January 2022, the HACC took Rachkov into custody in absentia, put him on the international wanted list, and recovered the bail of UAH 525,500, posted by the private enterprise “SB-UKRRESURS,” to the national budget. And already in April, the panel of judges of the Anti-Corruption Court sentenced Rachkov to 10 years in prison with the confiscation of all property and a ban on holding public office for 3 years for abuse of office. 

The case of Ukrtelefilm

Person involved: Oleksandra Hudz, director of the Lodoks company.

In 2017-2018, Oleksandra Hudz, conspired with Viktor Pidlisnyi, ex-director of Ukrtelefilm and other accomplices, transferred to TOV Lodoks the property rights to 67 real estate objects (apartments, parking spaces, etc.) in Kyiv for UAH 14.5 mln.  At that time, such property rights were much more expensive. Because of this, Ukrtelefilm suffered losses in excess of UAH 67.73 mln.

NABU Infographics

Punishment: On April 21, the HACC sentenced Oleksandra Hudz on the basis of a plea agreement. Earlier, she agreed to cooperate with the investigators. For forgery of documents and participation in the laundering of property of the state enterprise, Oleksandra Hudz was given a probationary period of 3 years. She must also pay a fine of UAH 8,500 and compensate UAH 269,500 of losses to the state. 

The case of the Highway Service of Mykolayiv oblast

Person involved: Andrii Maksymenko, ex-head of the Highway Service of Mykolaiv region.

In August 2019, NABU detectives detained Andrii Maksymenko in Odesa while receiving a second tranche of the bribe — USD 90,000. The money was intended to facilitate the transfer of payment to a private company for the repair of the N-11 Dnipro-Mykolayiv road. 

After detaining and serving with charges, the HACC chose Maksymenko an interim measure — detention with an alternative of bail of UAH 1.9 mln. In a few days, the money was deposited. On February 28, 2020, NABU detectives and SAPO prosecutors referred the indictment to court. 

Punishment: in the course of the case, the ex-official admitted his guilt, so the HACC approved the agreement between him and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office. Maksymenko was given a probationary period — 3 years in prison, a fine of UAH 17,000, and a ban on holding public leadership positions for 2 years. 

In addition, he must regularly appear for registration with the authorized agencies on probation, notify about the change of place of residence, work, or study. The HACC also confiscated UAH 100,000 to the national income.

The case of Kharkiv Regional State Administration

Person involved: Andrii Vynnychenko, ex-director of one of the departments of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration.

In August 2020, NABU detectives and SAPO prosecutors exposed Andrii Vynnychenko on receiving a bribe of UAH 1.32 mln. For money, he promised to “help” a private entrepreneur connect his company’s electrical installations to electricity networks. For connection of each of 600 kilowatts of power, the official wanted UAH 2,200.

Photo of detention: NABU press service

Subsequently, the HACC arrested Vynnychenko with an alternative of bail of UAH 630,600. Money was deposited, and he left the detention center, but violated his obligations, so the court determined a new bail. 

Punishment: On May 19, the Anti-Corruption Court found Vynnychenko guilty and sentenced him to 7 years in prison with confiscation of all property, deprivation of the sixth rank of civil servant and the right to hold public office 3 years after serving his sentence. In addition, the HACC decided to recover UAH 15,691 of procedural costs from him and chose an interim measure: detention until the entry into force of the sentence.

The Case of the Air Express

Persons involved: Hennadii Diachenko, acting director of “Air Express” and Ivan Radyk, owner of the private enterprise “Sapphire Finance.”

In 2014, Ukraine received UAH 116 mln under a loan agreement from the Export-Import Bank of China for the construction of a railway passenger connection between Boryspil airport and Kyiv — the Air Express project. However, the project could not be implemented due to the misappropriation and waste of this money. 

Hennadii Diachenko and Ivan Radyk used more than 20 fictitious enterprises within one criminal proceeding, which embezzled about USD 82 mln. The HACC eventually sent both of the defendants behind bars.

Punishment: Diachenko was sentenced to 11 years in prison, and Radyk — to 10.5 years. The HACC imposed an additional penalty of confiscation of all property, and deprived them of the right to hold certain positions for 3 years. They were taken into custody in the courtroom. In addition, the accused must compensate for losses of more than UAH 35 mln and UAH 81 mln.

The case of the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management

Person involved: Ihor Buksanchuk, director general of the State Specialized Enterprise “Radon.”

In April 2020, NABU detectives, SAPO prosecutors, and SBU employees exposed Ihor Buksanchuk when he gave a bribe of UAH 210,000. 

The funds were intended for Kateryna Pavlova, acting head of the director general of the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management. In exchange for the bribe, Buksanchuk was to be given more than UAH 430,000 of bonuses

Punishment: On June 1, 2022, the HACC sentenced Ihor Buksanchuk to 5 years in prison and confiscation of all property except ½ of the apartment.

Photo: Press Service of the Security Service of Ukraine

The case of the Odesa shooter judge

Persons involved: Oleksii Buran, ex-judge of the Malynovskyi District Court of Odesa, Andrii Selikhanov, an accomplice in the case.

In 2016, NABU detectives exposed ex-judge Oleksii Buran’s while receiving a bribe of USD 500,000. During the search of the house, the judge behaved provocatively and tried to shoot NABU and National Police employees. 

For a bribe, Buran promised to make a “right” decision in a civil case to recover UAH 1.5 mln of debt. His accomplice was Andrii Selikhanov. He acted as a mediator between the judge and the victim in the case Olena Petrova.

After exposing Buran, the Verkhovna Rada lifted his immunity and gave permission to take him into custody, and then the NABU detained him. In July 2016, the pre-trial investigation was completed and SAPO prosecutors drew up an indictment. For almost three years, the case of the Odesa shooter judge was considered in the Zavodskyi District Court of Mykolayiv, and then it was referred to the Anti-Corruption Court.

Punishment: after examining all the evidence, the accused and the SAPO concluded a plea agreement, the HACC approved it, so both received a probationary period of 3 years. In addition, the court imposed an additional sentence on Buran: deprivation of the right to hold positions in the judiciary for 3 years.

Other results of the first instance

In addition to imposing verdicts, the panel of judges of the HACC partially satisfied the claim of the SAPO and found the asset of Maksym Kovbel, a judge of the district court of Kyiv region, to be unfounded. This is an apartment in Kyiv with an area of 142 sq. m. However, the court did not recognize Toyota Land Cruiser as an unfounded asset for UAH 2.1 mln, although SAPO prosecutors had doubts about the legitimacy of acquiring this car.

According to the SAPO, the money for which the official purchased housing was acquired illegally, so the SAPO prosecutor filed a lawsuit to recover UAH 5.7 mln from the judge. If the decision of the HACC enters into force, a part of the cost of the apartment, UAH 3.6 mln, will be recovered to the national budget.

Second instance

During the five months of the war, the HACC Appeals Chamber confirmed several first instance verdicts, including:

  • 5 years of deprivation of the right to hold the position of a judge for 3 years and confiscation of property to Anton Haidur, a judge of the Mizhhirskyi District Court of the Zakarpattia region. He was accused of extorting and receiving a bribe of UAH 15,000;
  • 8 years of prison with confiscation of property for Orest Furdychko, ex-director of the Institute of Agroecology and Environmental Management of the National Academy of Agrarian Sciences of Ukraine. He was also banned from holding managerial positions at state and municipal enterprises after serving his sentence. In 2017, Furdychko extorted and received a bribe of USD 500,000 for the allocation of land plots owned by the Institute for the construction;
  • 2 years of prison for Apollinarii Nahalevskyi, head of the department of material and technical support of the Prosecutor General’s Office. He gave a bribe of USD 5,000 to an intermediary so that the latter gave the money to officials of the State Audit Service. At the same time, the court released the ex-officialfrom the punishment imposed due to the expiration of the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution;
  • 7 and 7.5 years of imprisonment for two ex-judges bribe-takers of the Holosiivskyi Court of Kyiv. Andrii Novak’s punishment was left unchanged, and Oleksandr Bilyk’s was somewhat mitigated — the appeal removed an additional punishment of deprivation of the right to practise law for 3 years. Novak was accused of receiving a bribe of USD 8,000 for the court decision in the case, and Bilyk was accused of aiding and abetting a bribe.

From February 24 to July 14, the HACC sentenced 11 corrupt officials, four of the sentences were imposed on the basis of plea agreements, and five people received the main punishment — imprisonment for 7 to 11 years. 

Justice is being served.