Al Jazeera reveals trade in Yanukovych’s frozen assets among 3 Ukrainian oligarchs

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Editor’s Note: Al Jazeera’s investigative unit exposed the trade in court-frozen assets allegedly stolen by ex-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, overthrown by the EuroMaidan Revolution on Feb. 22, 2014. The investigation reveals connections among Russian oligarchs, including Pavel Fuchs, and exiled Ukrainian ones, such as Serhiy Kurchenko, now in exile in Moscow, and ex-member of the Ukrainian parliament, Alexander Onyschenko, in trading in frozen assets in the hopes of getting Ukrainian courts to unfreeze the money, $1.5 billion out of an estimated $40 billion stolen during Yanukovych’s rule between 2010-2014.

Here is the summary of “The Oligarchs” investigation

Here is the link to all stories in “The Oligarchs” investigation

The following is the transcript of the first two parts of Al Jazeera’s “The Oligarchs” investigation.

THE OLIGARCHS

‘What matters infamy if the cash be kept?’ Juvenal

PART ONE

COMM SYNC NOTES
A president on the run.
OLIVER BULLOUGH

The absurdity of his corruption was amazing.

Billions stolen. Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit has obtained a cache of secret files.
DARIA KALENIUK

It sounds like an agreement between criminal bosses. You can sign it with your blood

A nation robbed with the help of Western banks
SERHIY LESHCHENKO

They use London as a safe haven.

ALEXANDER ONYSCHENKO

It’s a kind of business you know…

We reveal how Ukraine is being robbed for a second time – under the nose of the authorities.
DARIA KALENIUK

We simply didn’t have confirmation and this looks like confirmation.

The proceeds go to an oligarch in hiding. A man fuelling a war fought by Russian separatists in Ukraine.
OLIVER BULLOUGH

It just shows the way these guys do business, the genius of it really.

IVAN GOLUNOV

The first thing I saw was a machine gun pointed at me.

BILL BROWDER

The information you’ve presented is what I call the pipe through which dirty money from Russia, Ukraine and other countries all flow through.

TITLES:  THE OLIGARCHS GFX: MAIN TITLES

HEAD EAST

GFX KIEV: (Full frame black on white)

KIEV, UKRAINE, 2014

TATIANA SACHEVSKA

At the beginning of the revolution nobody knew how it was going to end.

SUBTITLES
During the uprising, Kiev’s musicians headed to  Independence Square  alongside thousands of protesters… Among them was opera trainer Tatiana Sachevska.
TATIANA SACHEVSKA

I helped them to break the paving stones, brought them food and supported them. All because I believed that my nation is capable of achieving a brighter future.

SUBTITLES NAME SUPER 01:58:00 TATIANA SACHEVSKAVOICE COACH, KIEV OPERA
The president had refused to sign an agreement to bring Ukraine closer to Europe.
DARIA KALENIUK

The goal of revolution was not only striving toward the EU. The goal was also to have fair play and the fair rules of the game and the revolution was against corruption.

For three months, Kiev’s Independence Square became a battlefield. Over 100 people lost their lives.
Then one February night, Ukraine’s president began to move house.
President Viktor Yanukovych fled his country. With help from Russian special forces, he was flown by helicopter to Moscow
TATIANA SACHEVSKA

It was a great relief because there had been many deaths and sacrifices. We had all witnessed this first hand.

SUBTITLES
For Tatiana, Ukraine’s leaders are like villains in a comic opera.
TATIANA SACHEVSKA

Ukraine hasn’t had a leader for centuries.

When it comes to leadership, always betrayals or quarrels.

SUBTITLES
DARIA KALENIUK

The day he ran away from the country the entire Ukrainian Treasury in it’s accounts had a few thousand dollar dollars. So the point is that entire treasury was robbed.

03:30:00-03:34:00

DARIA KALENIUK

ANTI-CORRUPTION CAMPAIGNER

THE PALACE OF CORRUPTION

COMM SYNC NOTES
Soon after the revolution, Ukraine’s people discovered how their president had been living.
PETRO THE GUIDE

It took three years to build from scratch. It cost more than $2 billion.

SUBTITLES
OLIVER BULLOUGH

The extend… the sort of absurdity of his corruption was amazing. It’s a six storey log cabin, I think the biggest log cabin in the world, set in a, frankly amazing estate. So enormous that if you’re going to walk around it, you’re not going to get round it in a day.

04:00:00-04:04:00

OLIVER BULLOUGH

Writer specialising in corruption

TATIANA SACHEVSKA

I was in shock. The lakes, the ducks and all the luxury. Yanukovych was just a gangster. They love bling.

Previously the palace was hidden from view – even on satellite maps. Now, a Nationalist group runs guided tours of this monument to corruption.
PETRO THE GUIDE

The chandelier used to be covered in silver leaf. He didn’t like it so they took it to Russia, where it was changed to gold leaf. Documents say it cost €200,000. This and the other chandeliers have Swarovski crystals. With the tables and flowers, it comes to around $600,000 to $700,000. Here’s a Steinway piano with a John Lennon autograph . The label under the cover says that it is the second of a limited edition of 25. This is the gym where nobody ever trained. It was built just in case. Every day up to 1,000 employees worked here, not including  security. The 24-hour operation cost over $100,000 a day.

SUBTITLES
The palace still guards a secret… The name of its real owner.  
SERHIY LESHCHENKO

Yanukovych did not keep money on his name.

Even his main house where he spent the last years of his life in Ukraine it was registered under charity fund, not on Yanukovych himself.

06:08:00-06:12:00

SERHIY LESHCHENKO

UKRAINIAN MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

Behind that charity, a dizzying web of companies based in tax havens around the world.

THE QUICKPACE DEAL

I’m Will Jordan. I’ve come to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital. Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit has obtained a drive filled with hundreds of documents about Yanukovych’s network    bank statements, contracts and emails from 2011, through the revolution, until 2015.
They place Viktor Yanukovych – the ultimate Eastern European oligarch – at the helm of a global corruption network.
This investigation is about how that network still operates today. And through one crooked contract – we see how oligarchs do business – often with the unwitting assistance of western banks.We’ve called it the Quickpace Deal.

THE QUICKPACE DEAL

DARIA KALENIUK

Unbelievable.

it sounds like an agreement between criminal bosses, you know. You can sign it with your blood.

REVOICE 1A By most estimates, Yanukovych stole billions. Ukrainian Investigators traced and froze $1.5b. A Cyprus-based company called Quickpace Limited holds $160 million dollars of that – in cash and bonds. But prosecutors froze this money because it’s stolen. It can’t legally be bought nor sold…
DARIA KALENIUK

You can’t trade seized assets. It’s the point of seizing them that you can’t trade them. As a lawyer I read this document and I understand that it’s not a legal document. I wouldn’t expect any court to enforce such a document

OLIVER BULLOUGH

It just shows the way these guys do business. I mean, the genius of it really.

REVOICE 1b

The Quickpace deal involves two oligarchs agreeing to buy the company and its 160m in frozen assets from a mysterious seller. The contract is unsigned, but our evidence indicates the deal went ahead. They treat Quickpace like buying a bankrupt company – and agree a knock-down price of just $30m. They throw in a private jet as part of the payment.

Paul to rework GFX sequence
OLIVER BULLOUGH

This is a really interesting discovery… this is distressed debt, basically. You get these companies who, if someone’s refusing to pay their debt, they but it for, you know, 20p on the pound, and then do their utmost to get it back and make a profit on it.

REVOICE 2 The oligarchs would make a clean 130-million-dollar profit. They believe they can unfreeze the assets – or as they call it “remove the arrest” – and pocket the money. They just need to persuade a judge to lift the freeze.
OLIVER BULLOUGH

If you have influence over the courts, which, you do in a corrupt jurisdiction like Ukraine, you can use that influence to try and release the assets and, and make your money out of it.

DARIA KALENIUK

The majority of judges in Ukraine they are themselves engaged in corruption. they are still those appointed under Yanukovych

REVOICE 3 We’ve gathered evidence that establishes which oligarchs are trying to make illicit profits from the Quickpace Deal. We’ve shown this to investigators including Jon Benton, the former head of the international corruption unit at Britain’s National Crime Agency.
JON BENTON

These are really, really complex investigations. You’ve got to go through thousands and thousands and thousands of documents.

It’s following the money and working out essentially the route the money takes

10:12:00-10:16:00

JON BENTON

Britain’s National Crime Agency, 2009-2016

BENTO BOX

REVOICE 4 It appears that Quickpace Limited was part of a massive embezzlement and money laundering network under the Yanukovych regime.
WILL JORDAN

Is it legal to be trading frozen assets or to be planning for their movement? JON BENTON

It’s a criminal offence. The whole idea is I’ve frozen the asset ’cause I think it’s the proceeds of crime. Its like trading in stolen goods that have been taken by the police. You’re putting the cash in the getaway car aren’t you?  

MY KINGDOM FOR A HORSE

COMM SYNC NOTES
Our documents reveal that buyer one in the Quickpace Deal is Alexander Onishenko, who operates behind offshore company, Fastilo Trading Limited. Your typical Ukrainian oligarch…
BILL BROWDER

Oligarch is a, a term that most people didn’t know 20 years ago. It’s kind of come out the Russian system, out of the Russian privatisation program,  these are extremely rich people…

00:11:19-00:11:24

BILL BROWDER

INVESTMENT FUND MANAGER

OLIVER BULLOUGH

He loves horses. He’s a flamboyant oligarch who likes spending money on expensive things like they all do.

He sponsored the Miss Ukraine contest and partied with the stars.      Pamela Anderson. Paris Hilton. Jean Claude Van Damme.
OLIVER BULLOUGH

Onishchenko, like a lot of Ukrainians made money in  the gas business.

ALEXANDER ONYSCHENKO

I start to produce gas in Ukraine, actually I did one of the biggest company in Ukraine that was sold three years ago.

00:12:09-00:12:13 ALEXANDER ONYSCHENKOOLIGARCH
Onishenko was seeking asylum in Europe – and agreed to be interviewed because he believed it would help clear his name. At first, we didn’t say that we knew about the secret Quickpace deal. He was happy to talk about his famous friends.
WILL JORDAN

You know Donald Trump? ALEXANDER ONYSCHENKO

Yeah. He’s doing a horse competition in Palm Beach. Also he was the owner of this contest…Miss Universe. He did this once in Moscow and I met him there. We have a good relationship.

BUYER TWO

Our document reveals buyer two in the Quickpace deal Pavel Fuchs – His company Dorchester International Incorporated.
He’s a real-estate tycoon who featured in a Russian business programme.
Name: Pavel Fuchs, Company: Mos City Group, Family: Married, two children

Hobbies: Tennis, languages.

SUBTITLES
Fuks promotes a ‘hard man’ image.
PAVEL FUCHS

I used to beat people up. I don’t like it when someone lies to me.

SUBTITLES 00:13:20PAVEL FUCHSOLIGARCH
Like buyer one, Mr Fuks is friends with now US President Donald Trump. He’s negotiated with him several times since 2004. But never completed a deal to build a Trump Hotel in Moscow.
President Putin has  honoured Fuchs for his contribution to the Russian economy.
Fuchs owns several prestigious properties in the Russian capital.
REVOICE 5 He built this complex in partnership with the powerful son-in-law of former Russian president Boris Yeltsin. Another partner was a Kazakh businessman later sentenced to jail over a multi-billion dollar fraud.
He’s a tough boss.
PAVEL FUCHS

I never threaten anyone but when we were refurbishing, I told the workers not to smoke. When I arrived, they were smoking. I asked them again not to smoke. REPORTER (FEMALE)

And they continued? PAVEL FUCHS

Yes, and they had to eat their cigarette butts. REPORTER (FEMALE)

How beautiful. After that? PAVEL FUCHS

Then they stopped smoking.

SUBTITLES
REVOICE 6

Mr and Mrs Fuks publish social media snaps with a high-profile jeweller and his wife. Jacob Arabo was jailed for 2 years in 2008 in a US money-laundering case. Fuks socialises with influential politicians. A Russian MP from President Putin’s party –  now a senior banker. The Mayor of Ukraine’s second city – Kharkiv – left in a wheelchair after a mafia-style assassination attempt.

OLIVER BULLOUGHWhat’s interesting about him is that…The extent to which he shows that the separation between Ukraine and Russia can be a bit skin-deep. The elites of both Ukraine and Russia, for them, it’s basically the same country, the money flows backwards and forwards, the business deals go backwards and forwards.
A recent leak of offshore company documents – the Panama Papers – establishes Fuchs at the helm of a huge global business empire.
REVOICE 7 It begins with his offshore company, Dorchester International Incorporated, registered in St Kitts and Nevis… It has holdings in companies all over the globe –   Indirectly in Golden Eagle Trust in Jersey Owned by billionaire Vijay Mallya, today facing extradition to India on fraud charges, which he denies. Another link – mining in Tanzania and Cameroon. To palm oil billionaires in Malaysia. Even state run pharmaceuticals in Cuba.
OLIVER BULLOUGH

They, all operate as a kind of transnational clan. They’ll have their lawyers in Cyprus, they’ll have their money in Latvia. It’s an international structure which they’ve created since the fall of the Soviet Union, which is very, very resilient and very hard to penetrate.

NABU

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union a quarter century ago, Ukraine’s been caught between Russia and the West. After the 2014 revolution, a pro Western government has been in place.
It’s launched a war on corruption. Fought by a National Anti-Corruption Bureau built on American and European money.
BUREAU OFFICER

It’s for raids. It weighs 12 kilos. The Americans gave them to us.

SUBTITLES
The bureau is well known for arresting low-level judges and civil servants… and counting out their cash on camera.
But it hasn’t got any high-level convictions.   
ARTEM SYTNYK

Resistance is very strong from the elites who are in power. The more we investigate, the more resistance we face.

SUBTITLES

17:01:00-17:05:00

ARTEM SYTNYK

DIRECTOR, ANTI-CORRUPTION BUREAU

It appears that the revolution that toppled Yanukovych – did not remove the oligarchs who served him.
ARTEM SYTNYK

All of us involved in this process knew it was going to be difficult. We’ve chosen our cross to bear. If we fail, Ukraine fails. Unfortunately, not all the ruling class see it this way

SUBTITLES

WANTED

Buyer one in the Quickpace Deal , Alexander Onishenko is on-the-run in Western Europe – with his riches.
The Ukraine government says he swindled them out of 100 million dollars on a gas deal.
Onishenko says the president told him to bribe MPs, and has now turned against him.
ALEXANDER ONYSCHENKO

I’m wanted in Ukraine, that’s why I’m now in Europe. Actually, this case is political motivation case.

18:04:00-18:08:00

ALEXANDER ONYSCHENKO

OLIGARCH

WILL JORDAN

Would you say you are against corruption? ALEXANDER ONYSCHENKO

Yeah. WILL JORDAN

But you paid bribes, you’ve been corrupt.

ALEXANDER ONYSCHENKO

I have been not corrupt,I did just instructions what the president say. In our country, there is no other way.

NABU AND QUICKPACE

REVOICE 8 Onishenko is the Anti-Corruption Bureau’s most-wanted fugitive. They’re hunting him for the gas swindle.
They raided his office in March 2016; even had his mother arrested in Madrid. During that raid, we understand they picked up a copy of our document – The Quickpace Deal. Despite this, they seem to be doing little to bring the oligarchs involved to justice.
ARTEM SYTNYK

These assets were owned by former President Yanukovych. Later Onyschenko and Fuchs the Russian businessmen bought them.

SUBTITLES
Fuchs’ role has not been established in this scheme. It’s just that he jointly owns a company with Onyschenko, the one that had the money seized.

HOME SWEET HOME

Buyer two, Pavel Fuchs.

A man whose business empire spans the globe..

We traced some of his property assets. Mrs Fuks is a Social media star regularly in London. Her photographer always takes pictures in the same place.
… the upmarket Belgravia neighbourhood. Near the Spanish embassy. And at “home sweet home”. We located the building. REVOICE Property records show it was purchased in 2012 for 25 million pounds or around 40 million dollars by another company based in the British Virgin Islands – called Latina Associates Limited, using a mortgage from Barclays Bank. The Panama Papers leak reveals that Latina Associates is owned by Mrs Fuchs and Mr Fuchs’s company, Dorchester International.
London is a favourite destination for many oligarchs and their money..

THE ARMOUR PLATING FACTORY

JON BENTON

London is an international financial centre

We don’t just have the professional services that can be hijacked and used.

We also then have all the trimmings where you might wanna spend your money.

OLIVER BULLOUGH

In London you can buy anything. Um, you buy yourself a mansion in Kensington, you buy yourself a load of fine art at Sotheby’s, you buy yourself a yacht at the London Boat Show

This building in central London houses a company called Chesterfield Group. It’s what’s called a company formation agent – a crucial tool for any oligarch, such as Pavel Fuks.
For a small fee, they will set up company for you – and you can remain anonymous. It can be offshore – with an address that’s not yours. The named director won’t be you. The named secretary won’t be you. You simply control it in the background, while your nominee cut-outs protect your identity…
BILL BROWDER

If anyone ever comes to ask them a question, they just sort of throw their hands up in the air and say, I don’t know, I was just a nominee director.

WILL JORDAN

Hello is this Chesterfied group? I came to ask you some questions about Pavel Fuks?

BILL BROWDER

So effectively, you have these cut out characters that depersonalise and distance the money from any of the real perpetrators of the situation.

WILL JORDAN

We emailed and called you but you didn’t respond.

OLIVER BULLOUGH

You can create a company in the UK for £13 and it takes you, I’ve done it, about nine minutes.

WILL JORDAN

Hello?

OLIVER BULLOUGH

No one checks the information that you provide, literally no one. And there are 350,000 companies created by company formation agents in the UK every year.

REVOICE 8A This office – and Chesterfield Group – are closely linked to Fuks.
Chesterfield’s building is owned by a company based in the British Virgin Islands – Gerbera Group, bought in 2015 for around 5 million dollars with a Barclays mortgage. Gerbera Group is owned by Mr Fuks’ company, Dorchester International. Chesterfield has branches in Cyprus… Isle of Man… Ireland… the Bahamas…and of course London… In many cases, Dorchester International is the named director.
JON BENTON

If you’ve got a company formation agent registered and that company formation agent is forming companies for you then that’s immediately suspicious. It’s a huge… huge alarm bell.

23:04:00-23:08:00

JON BENTON

Britain’s National Crime Agency, 2009-2016

REVOICE 8BChesterfield appears to be a captive company formation agent.

In other words creating companies for its’ owner

OLIVER BULLOUGH

It makes perfect sense. I mean, if I was an oligarch, I’d do that. Yeah, own your own company formation agent, why not? Sell them to your mates, give them… here you go. It’s like, it’s like a Christmas present. Here you go, here’s a London company with a bank account. It’s brilliant.

TEASE TO PART TWO

In part two, we confront Alexander Onishenko,  one of the buyers of the Quickpace
ALEXANDER ONYSCHENKO

There is kind of business. You can buy cheap and try to fix the problem to make the money.  

REVOICE 9 And, we reveal the the man believed to be the seller of the frozen assets.
FORMER DRIVER (LEONID)

He is unbalanced and unhinged. He’s a vengeful person, unprincipled and ruthless.

THE OLIGARCHS

‘What matters infamy if the cash be kept?’ Juvenal

PART TWO

COMM SYNCH NOTES
REVOICE 1 In part one – how former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych stole billions. 1.5 billion dollars was frozen. We have obtained documents that expose a plot in 2015 to steal again $160m of that money.   It’s held in a company called Quickpace Limited. It involves two oligarchs Pavel Fuks and Alexandr Onishenko- planning to buy Quickpace’s frozen assets at a knockdown price.
DARIA KALENIUK

Unbelievable. It sounds like an agreement between criminal bosses. You can sign it with your blood.

REVOICE 2 Now, we reveal where the stolen money is destined. And the identity of the reclusive third oligarch believed to be selling the frozen assets.
FORMER DRIVER (LEONID)

He is unbalanced and unhinged. He’s a vengeful person, unprincipled and ruthless.

The story of our documents takes us back to the heyday of the corruption of Ukraine’s former president Yanukovych. Deeper into one network of his offshore companies.   It traces the path of hundreds of millions of dollars out of Ukraine from 2011 to his escape in 2014. …through foreign bank accounts, and into the pockets of Yanukovych and his cronies.
OLIVER BULLOUGH

Since Ukraine became independent in 1991, it has been essentially looted by its elites again and again and again, and the tactics they use are essentially always identical.

00:01:51-00:01:55

OLIVER BULLOUGH

Writer specialising in corruption

Faceless lawyers, accountants and bankers,  helped pass hundreds of millions of dollars around the network.

Some as loans referenced “redistribution of means” Some as payments for building materials Home electronics … Some for cars motorbikes – even parquet flooring.

BILL BROWDER

The philosophy of money launderers is to create a situation where the money has moved through so many different companies and so many different countries, in so many different accounts thereby effectively laundering it because nobody has the resources to figure it out.

00:02:45-00:02:49

BILL BROWDER

INVESTMENT FUND MANAGER

REVOICE 3 While he was still in power, the Yanukovych network used Quickpace to launder money… sometimes moving relatively small amounts via complex paths – with the help of Western banks.
One document showed a payment of $4.4 million made by Quickpace from its nominal home as a Cyprus-registered company.The money was held in a Quickpace account in Vienna, with Austria’s Mynel Bank.

It was wired to an account in Frankfurt with Commerzbank.

Onto Deutsche Bank in New York.

It ended up at Baltic International Bank in Latvia, in the account of a

shell company, Foxtron Networks Limited, Foxtron, like Quickpace,is registered in Cyprus. None of the banks appear to have raised a red flag – what’s called a suspicious activity report.

BILL BROWDER

It’s very easy for a bank to fill out a suspicious activity report, they just effectively press a button. The trouble is who’s digesting this suspicious activity reports and the answer is in many cases, nobody.

The documents linking Quickpace to Foxtron Networks – in turn link Quickpace one of world’s highest-profile money laundering scandals. REVOICE 3.1 It was discovered by RussianaccountantSergei Magnitsky. He was working for an investment firm

based in Moscow and

run by Bill Browder.

BILL BROWDER

Sergei exposed it, he was then arrested, tortured and killed in prison.

00:04:26-00:04:29

BILL BROWDER

INVESTMENT FUND MANAGER

REVOICE 4 The Russian government says Magnitsky died of natural causes – and accuses Browder of the fraud. Browder claims Russian officials stole $230 million in state funds.
A huge quarter billion dollar Russian government embezzlement scheme… synonymous with injustice and corruption in Russia. A frightening reminder of how quickly money can disappear
REVOICE 5 Our documents reveal that Foxtron Networks had been wired money by Quickpace  in March 2014We then discovered that Foxtron was owned by one of the companies at the heart of the Magnitsky affair….Fynel Limited
BILL BROWDER

Fynel Limited is one of the central parts of the apparatus. It’s like the spigot on the pipe. Fynel is effectively a nominee company that is the director for a number of very crucial points in this money laundering network.

REVOICE 5.0.9 Both Quickpace and the company it wired money to – Foxtron Networks – are registered in Cyprus..
OLIVER BULLOUGH

Rich Ukrainians funnel their money offshore to Cyprus and then onwards, beyond, and then bring it back again, so it looks like foreign investment, so you can’t really tell who owns it.

REVOICE 5.1 In the Quickpace deal, another Cyrpus company, Prontoservus Limited, is named as the seller of the 160 million dollars in frozen assets. But Prontoservus is just a ‘cut out’ – a nominee shareholder. It owns the assets on paper, but the real owner is hiding behind it. Christina Sarris is the named secretary of Prontoservus. …a Cyprus-based lawyer and offshore expert.
REVOICE 6 Sarris refused our request for an interview – or to divulge the name of the person behind Prontoservus.But we tracked her down… in a secretly recorded conversation, she confirmed that Quickpace had been sold.
WILL JORDAN

I am looking at a company called Quickpace. CHRISTINA SARRIS

It is no longer with us, Quickpace. The client sold it. I remember it because it was an August closing and it was a nightmare.

06:51:00-06:55:00

CHRISTINA SARRIS

LAWYER & OFFSHORE EXPERT

The Cyprus company registry shows Quickpace was transferred to one of Pavel Fuks’s many companies – Evermore Property Holdings. With the help of his company formation agent Chesterfield.  
REVOICE 7 The leaked documents also provide evidence that the Quickpace deal was done, or at least that its first phase begun. Pavel Fuks apparently made a payment from a London bank.
A transfer – 2 million dollars from Barclays Canary Wharf. Deutsche Bank in New York was used to move the money They passed it to an offshore company with an account in Latvia and a mystery owner. The money went through… no red flags…
BILL BROWDER

Western banks have had a hard time making money over the last few years

so, when somebody shows up and says I’d like to set up an account with 100 million dollars, they’re gonna have to look for a pretty good reason not to set up that account.  
REVOICE 8.1 Other documents in the leak lead us to a British village north of London. Under British law, there’s a type of company that allows foreign owners to avoid tax and scrutiny. It’s called a  limited liability partnership.
OLIVER BULLOUGH

Companies are brilliant. Some people call them getaway cars, for corrupt money. I have heard them better described as armour plating.

One of the companies is registered here. This is the official office of a company worth hundreds of millions of dollars…Fincorp Resources LLP.
According to bank statements leaked to us, Fincorp made 328 million dollars in just six months of 2013. But in public accounts filed  with UK authorities Fincorp claimed  it made less than seven thousand. It looks like fraud, so we came to ask about it.
REVOICE 9 The managers at the address of the registered office had refused our request for an interview.
WILL JORDAN

Hello there,

My name’s Will Jordan, I work for Aljazeera.

We’re doing an investigation into Ukraine.

REVOICE 9.1

This Hertfordshire office has registered over 1500 companies, so the people who work here just run a post box service. With the director, secretary and address all being proxies – finding out who really owns a company can be almost impossible…

OLIVER BULLOUGH

If you own something in your own name, then you can just look on the company register, on the property register

and say, oh there you go, it’s Oliver’s house. But if I own, you know, that house in a company, a British company, and if my British company is owned by, let’s say a Cypriot company and if my Cypriot company is owned by, let’s say a Panamanian company, and if my Panamanian company is owned by a Nevis company, then if you want to find out who owns this house, you have to go to every one of those jurisdictions and ask them who owns that company.
WILL JORDAN

Hello. I wanted to ask about a couple of companies, Fincorp Resources?

REVOICE 10 Fincorp Resources features in the files.
Its nominee directors  were also involved in the Magnitsky scandal.
A Latvian citizen called Yuri Vitman, signs the papers for Fincorp. He’s just a cut-out for the person who really owns and controls the company. REVOICE 10.1Another director is Stan Gorin, again a cut out, whose name is regularly used as a frontman by money launderers. These named directors may be paid for their nominee role but are likely ignorant of any fraud.
BILL BROWDER

The information you’ve presented is what I call the pipe. This is the pipe through which dirty money from Russia, Ukraine and other countries in that part of the world, all flow through.

these are all effectively part of the same criminal operation.
REVOICE 11 The Pipeline leads to Moscow. As well as the links with the Magnitsky affair, the documents feature hundreds of emails from lawyers based here.. They’re so concerned to conceal the name of their client, they write in cryptic language.
Good evening, February 26, 2015, put the book on the top shelf. Technical task:Read the book and give a positive review of it.Cancel the decision of 3 floors. To leave in force the decision of 1 and 2 floors. Sincerely.
Is it agreed with my supervisor?
But who is the supervisor? We found the answer buried deep in a key document…
REVOICE 12 A loan agreement shows Quickpace was used to put up collateral by a company called Vetek Media Invest, in order to borrow huge funds in October 2013
Vetek belongs to Sergey Kurchenko – known as the “baby-faced gas king” of Ukraine. By aged 27,  he was worth $400m.Former president Yanukovych apparently treated him like a wallet. Kurchenko gave cash to the president whenever he needed it.
OLIVER BULLOUGH

He was given control of a chunk of the gas trade, he made a lot of money for himself, and then he cut back most of it then to his political patrons

which was, you know, Yanukovych, or Yanukovych’s son.

REVOICE 13 There’s more evidence pointing to Kurchenko as the seller. A lawyer called Boris Guttsov appears in the emails. Russian business records show he’s director of United Media Holdings. United Media used to belong to Sergey Kurchenko.
SERHIY LESHCHENKO

Kurchenko was just businessman but I can say a very talented, corrupt guy, because he used very tricky schemes, very unusual schemes to steal money.

13:37:00-13:41:00

SERHIY LESHCHENKO

UKRAINIAN MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

REVOICE 14 Today he is in hiding in Moscow – wanted in Ukraine, sanctioned in the US and Europe. His office is in a skyscraper complex developed by Pavel Fuks’ companies
Two of his former drivers told us more about him.
FORMER DRIVER (LEONID)

Kurchenko is always asking when we will arrive. If you don’t answer immediately, you’ll be fired.

It was the worst job I’ve ever had…

“LEONID”

Former driver for Sergei Kurchenko

FORMER DRIVER (MIKHAIL)

He swears. He screams at his employees. He fires two to three people every month. He is very inadequate.

“MIKHAIL”

Former driver for Sergei Kurchenko

The drivers are worried they’ll be in danger if their former boss finds out they’ve been talking to us.
FORMER DRIVER (LEONID)

He is unbalanced and unhinged. He’s a vengeful person, unprincipled and ruthless.

Kurchenko has only given three interviews to journalists – one was Ivan Golunov.
IVAN GOLUNOV

It was an unusual interview.

We took an elevator. The door opened. The first thing I saw was a machine gun pointed at me. 15:06:00-15:11:00

IVAN GOLUNOV

JOURNALIST

I didn’t expect the PR person to ask me how much money I wanted. I took an envelope and they calmed down.   Afterwards, I left it on the table. No one mentioned it again.
We tracked down Kurchenko using information from his former chauffeurs.
FORMER DRIVER (MIKHAIL)

He is guarded by Alpha Group – former counter-terrorism special forces.

FORMER DRIVER (LEONID)

They have fought in wars and have state medals. They are armed with rubber bullets.

Just before 7am, the guards receive information that he’s coming. They get in position.
FORMER DRIVER (MIKHAIL)

There are five cars, 18 people in the convoy.

FORMER DRIVER (LEONID)

The cars are fitted with signal blockers with a 200-metre range.

REVOICE 15 The convoy includes armed security. Kurchenko travels in the second bullet-proof vehicle. There is a mobile ambulance with a medic.   There’s a fourth vehicle blocking the entrance to the complex. And a fifth sweeper car.
FORMER DRIVER (LEONID)

Kurchenko had an argument with some Chechen guys in a restaurant. After that he stepped up his security.

Kurchenko rushes out, glimpsed for a split second – before he is inside the building. His staff bring his things and the drivers park and wait.
We often drive him to…
the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the national space agency.
Also the Russian Presidential Administration State gas firm Gazprom State oil firm Rosneft State-funded VTB bank…
IVAN GOLUNOV

He already works for the Russian government. In our interview in 2014, he tried to show that he’s not scared of working in Crimea, that he’s capable of doing business there.

Ukraine’s spy agency reports that he’s helping the Russian side in the conflict in Ukraine. He’s running some of the biggest coal, oil and gas companies
in annexed Crimea and areas controlled by Russian separatists.
The Russian government used him to supply fuel and power to Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics.
BILL BROWDER

In most countries you have the government. You have criminals and you have businessmen.

In Russia, all of those distinctions have effectively disappeared.

DARIA KALENIUK

It’s the interest of Russia to destroy the Ukraine from inside. It’s against the interest of Kremlin for Ukraine to succeed in anti corruption.

REVOICE 16 Through the Quickpace Deal we have uncovered a plot to profit from the billions stolen by the clan surrounding former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. A baby-faced billionaire used dozens of lawyers seemingly to turn frozen assets into clean money.
Our evidence was confirmed by one of the buyers of Quickpace.
ALEXANDER ONYSCHENKO

It was one of the businessmen from the ex government yeah.

WILL JORDAN

Sergei Kurchenko ?

ALEXANDER ONYSCHENKO

Yes, yes, yes.

For Onishenko, buying assets stolen in a grand corruption case is just another day at the office.
ALEXANDER ONYSCHENKO

It is alike a kind of business you can buy cheap and try to fix the problem to make the money.

00:19:37-00:19:42 ALEXANDER ONYSCHENKOOLIGARCH
But when I revealed that we had the Quickpace document, Onishenko denied that the deal went ahead.
ALEXANDER ONYSCHENKO

It was like normal business but this one has not happened yes? We didn’t buy.

WILL JORDAN

You didn’t buy that ?

No. They wanted to sell us assets that were already frozen..they gave us a very good discount but we check it was impossible to unfreeze this activity.
REVOICE 17.1 They may not yet have made money, but our evidence directly contradicts Onishchenko’s account that the deal did not go ahead.Official documents record a change of ownership of Quickpace.A lawyer in Cyprus said the sale had happened.
CHRISTINA SARRIS

The client sold it right –I remember it because it was an August closing.

Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Bureau also confirmed the sale.
ARTEM SYTNYK

Onyschenko and Fuchs the Russian businessmen bought them.

WILL JORDAN

So it never happened?

ALEXANDER ONYSCHENKO

No it never happened.

At the offices of Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Bureau,  a powerful politician – with his entourage – has arrived to complain.
POLITITIAN

On a direct line, Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Holodnitsky gets orders from the President of Ukraine about who to prosecute or exonerate.

The millionaire politician had just learnt that he was under investigation.
POLITITIAN

If I were in your chair, I

would sign and my hand would not shake.

You are blushing, sweating, and going pale.

The argument all streamed live on national television. This is Ukraine’s corruption fight.  
Wealthy politicians versus Nazar Holodnitski, the young, new Anti-Corruption Prosecutor.
NAZAR HOLODNITSKY

He gathered around him another ten MPs and organised this farce. I’m ashamed for Ukraine that you were witness to this circus.

22:05:00-22:09:00

NAZAR HOLODNITSKY

ANTI-CORRUPTION PROSECUTOR

DARIA KALENIUK

We are witnessing old traditional corrupt system trying to do everything possible to destroy this this new agency.

NAZAR HOLODNITSKY

If you were to weigh the pressure, it would be more than a ton.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau is drowning in paperwork. And its case against Onishenko is falling apart.  
WILL JORDAN

What chances do you think there are of seeing Mr.Onishchenko behind bars?

NAZAR HOLODNITSKY

You might as well look at tea leaves. As law enforcers, we are doing everything to bring him to justice.

WILL JORDAN

So what chance do you think there is that you will ever go to prison?

ALEXANDER ONYSCHENKO

I don’t know. Like we say in Ukraine nobody can be sure about prison.

Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption chiefs console themselves by saying they’ve seized Onishenko’s private jet.
NAZAR HOLODNITSKY

It’s kept at an airport. I can’t say where but it’s being kept. Let’s leave it at that.

But even that appears to be an illusion. We tracked down the jet – sitting at Luton Airport in the UK.
It was sold in March last year for 25 million dollars. Today it is for charter to the super-rich – costing around 30,000 dollars an hour…
WILL JORDAN

Did they seize one of your private jets?

ALEXANDER ONYSCHENKO

No this is bullshit, yeah….they seized nothing from me. Nothing zero.  

For its people, now the poorest in Europe, the Ukrainian tragedy plays on.
TATIANA SACHEVSKA

Ever since the revolution I’ve been sleeping  badly.

I think I’m asleep but I have this persistent anxiety.

I feel despair and anxiety.

I know everyone wants corrupt individuals tried in a kangaroo court or hanged in the central square but we cannot do this.
Alexander Onsihenko has now been granted asylum in Spain. Pavel Fuks is stepping up his investments in Ukraine buying gas companies and possibly a bank. Sergey Kurchenko has London lawyers working to overturn his sanctions and unfreeze his money.
OLIVER BULLOUGH

Everyone gets away with it. If you look at the amount of money that’s stolen in developing countries globally every year, it is estimated at a trillion dollars, with a T. How much is recovered of that? Out of every thousand dollars, 25 cents

TATIANA SACHEVSKA

It’s all just a charade. The corruption goes on. It’s greater than under Yanukovych.

24:22:00-24:25:00

TATIANA SACHEVSKA

VOICE COACH, KIEV OPERA

In the first revolution in 2004, there was no blood spilt, but now I see no other way out.
R2Rs

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