Andrii Kaluzhynskyi, head of the main unit of NABU detectives: "We have people who are suspected or accused of corruption - they shake hands. They are promoted, interviewed and invited to events."

© NABU Press Office

"Each of the regions has its own more or less influential players, but we do not have information that someone has "monopolized" the local government as much as in Odesa."

The war is tearing us apart, inflicting new heavy wounds. Unfortunately, our chronic diseases have not gone anywhere either. The idea that the great calamity cured everyone of corruption is an illusion. Didn't heal. And this, perhaps, is one of the most frightening conclusions of the conversation with the head of the main detective unit of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU). Andriy Kaluzhynskyi is in the team of the first creators of the anti-corruption bureau. It's just that he is as non-public as possible, and his first interview in seven years of work — ZN.UA.

Unlike ex-director of NABU Artem Sytnyk and current acting director Gizo Uglava, our interlocutor is a procedural person. While the NABU director holds the media form, the chief detective determines the legal content. According to his duties, it is Andrii Kaluzhynskyi who supervises the investigation in all criminal proceedings of the main unit of NABU detectives and can influence the course of any of them. But (!) to the limits of the powers of each of the 241 detectives, whose unprecedented level of independence is defined by law.

During the interview, Andrii Kaluzhynskiy certainly tried to defend his procedural boundaries, and we tried to violate them. You can judge what happened.


— What determines a person's choice in favor of honesty?

— Education, moral beliefs and their stability.

- Which corruption is more dangerous for the state - domestic corruption or in the higher echelons of power?

— In the higher echelons.

— What case was the most pressure on you?

— The greatest pressure was felt in proceedings involving the heads of law enforcement agencies or oligarchs with a large media resource.

— Your greatest achievement in the profession?

— We do things that no one has done before us in the law enforcement system of Ukraine. We bring to justice those people whom no one has ever punished.

— The biggest "fee" you were offered to avoid punishment?

— Five million dollars for closing the criminal proceedings against Mr. Zlochevskyi.

— Do you really believe that corruption can be overcome?

- Absolutely not. But it can be reduced to a controlled level that would not have a destructive effect on the life of the state.

— What is the key tool in this case?

— The integrity of the authorities.

- Do you believe that the government can be honest?

- So.

— NABU is still a foreign body in the law enforcement system?

— Unfortunately, so far.

— Why didn't you apply for the NABU director competition?

- There are several reasons.

About old cases, "Lyubovych flash drive" and Nikitasy's roof

— "There won't be any corruption, it doesn't exist now, of course, because we are all united. Many corrupt officials left with their money...". This is recently said President Volodymyr Zelenskyi. Andrii Volodymyrovych, and then what are you doing in this office?

- I think that this was said by the president, rather, figuratively, and not literally. Our work shows that corrupt officials have remained in the country. Unfortunately.

— Currently, the subject of conversation is the topic of Judge Vovka. The films of Vovka were written by NABU detectives, and his shameful business is finally in anticorsud. The District Administrative Court of Kyiv (OASK) was liquidated, but the gestalt is still not closed. First, because Vovk is still a judge. And secondly, those who covered him did not answer. There is a "Lyubovych flash drive", which on July 16, 2020, was literally taken from her deputy by the then Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova. At that time, Andriy Lyubovych had already prepared a complaint against Vovka and was ready to sign it.

According to our information, NABU has opened a case regarding Venediktova's unlawful interference. But in order to block the case, the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) double-opened its proceedings. Are these cases currently under investigation? How often do other law enforcement agencies use such a scheme to prevent NABU from moving forward?

— Such a fact really took place. On the day when Lyubovych signed the suspicions to the judges of the OASK and tried to enter information about the suspicions into the Unified Register of Pretrial Investigations, he saw that his flash drive was blocked. But after that, as far as I know, he filed a relevant report, and he was unblocked on the same day. That is, it was an attempt to somehow prevent it, but it was not successful. Because no flash drive prevents the prosecutor from fulfilling his powers. Lyubovych signed the charges that day, and the prosecutors of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAP) together with the detectives handed them over.

However, these suspicions were to be handed over by the prosecutors of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine (OGPU). At that time, they carried out the procedural management, and the SAP prosecutors were only part of the group. The fact of the intervention was made public. A recording was even posted on the Internet, where the then head of the department of the Prosecutor General's Office, referring to the directive of the management, forbade his subordinates to participate in the handing over of suspicion. Therefore, we were forced to negotiate in an emergency mode with the prosecutors of the SAP, so that they would pick up this baton and instead of the prosecutors of the Prosecutor General's Office, they would hand over the suspicion.

NABU press office

— So NABU opened the case?

- There are several cases. A case of interference in the activities of the OGPU prosecutor was registered. We are investigating it. There was also a case based on the fact that they tried to prevent Lyubovych from fulfilling his official duties. This case was transferred to the SAB to the SBI. But recently, the new head of SAP, Oleksandr Klymenko, demanded it and returned it to NABU. And on the same fact, the OGPU registered a criminal proceeding, determining the responsibility of the main investigative department of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). However, this proceeding was demanded from them at the initiative of the new head of the SAP. And today we have all these proceedings. We recently received them, so we will think about how and where to move.

— So, Iryna Venediktova will answer for her actions? No matter where she is now representing the state of Ukraine?

— For now, I can say that these cases are not closed, they will be investigated. What decision is made will depend on the evidence we collect.

— Parallel cases in other bodies are still a scheme?

— Yes, there are quite a lot of such facts: approximately 15–20% of all cases investigated by NABU detectives have "clones" in other investigative bodies. This scheme does not stop our investigations, but sometimes it significantly complicates our work. If, for example, we register proceedings, and other bodies do the same based on the same fact, then within the scope of their investigation, they can seize evidence and then, under some far-fetched pretext, not provide us with this evidence for a long period of time. But we are trying to demand such proceedings by all legal means, and to include the evidence contained in them in our investigations. I, for example, cannot recall any case where a parallel investigation would block the possibility of finishing our investigation.

— NABU went to the second round in the "Rotterdam+" case, which was recently buried. The circle of participants was expanded from six to 21 people. Among them there is neither Poroshenko, nor Akhmetov, nor even Pasenyuk. Why?

— Initially, we informed six participants of the scheme about the suspicion. And they expanded the circle to 15 suspects at the expense of those members of the National Commission, which carries out state regulation in the spheres of energy and communal services, who voted for the formula, but did not actively promote it. In the actions of those who actively promoted it, we have already seen the composition of the crime, they were charged with Article 364 of the Criminal Code - abuse of power or official position. As for the others (nine more involved in the crime), based on the results of the discussions with the prosecutors, we came to the conclusion that their actions are also part of a different crime, namely official negligence (Article 367 of the Criminal Code). What was presented to them.

— What about the three personalities I mentioned?

— I cannot comment on the investigation in the context of personalities. For now, we can say that the suspicions have been reported to those people about whom detectives and prosecutors have gathered enough evidence. But the investigation is not over.

— Mr. Mykytas appeared again in the information space — the mayor of Dnipro tried: the developer was detained for trying to give Boris Filatov a bribe of 22 million euros. But Mykytas is a big fish that has somehow already escaped from your net. Not without the help of Oleg Tatarov, deputy head of the president's office, of course. When we spoke with Artem Sytnyk regarding the first case of Mykytas, they agreed that Mykytas's case could turn out to be no less cynical than OASK in terms of its significance and scale. This is not only a case about the apartments of the National Guard, but also many other episodes related to the construction world of Kyiv. Nikitas spoke not only to the detectives, he clearly told in his posts how his chief lawyer Tatarov, Deputy Maiboroda... "Ukrbud" was bullied.

So what's up with the construction world of Kyiv and beyond? On December 14, 2021, the Shevchenkiv court quietly closed the Tatarov case.

NABU press office

- First of all, I would not agree with the fact that "Mykytas escaped from our net." Criminal proceedings against the specified person are pending in the High Anti-Corruption Court. Secondly, regarding the other case mentioned by you, as far as I know, the court did not close, but extended the investigation period, and then the prosecutor's office closed it. And this decision cannot be reviewed, unfortunately. Because the term of the pre-trial investigation has expired. According to the Criminal Procedure Code, in case of missing the pre-trial investigation deadlines, they are not subject to renewal. But at that moment, this proceeding was taken away from us and transferred to the SBU before the end of the pre-trial period. As far as I know, the Security Service still applied to the court for an extension of the terms, but the court did not extend it. Under such circumstances, it is either necessary to open the case file with subsequent referral of the indictment to the court, or to close it.

— "Mykytas's testimony is a springboard for a jump that can end in completely different ways... But with regard to the situation with the expert and Tatarov, everything has already happened and been proven," are Sytnyk's words. That is, the SBU, ignoring the fact that NABU had already proven everything, preferred to close the case rather than go to court for a guilty verdict?

— To make one of these two decisions is not the competence of the pre-trial investigation body (SBU in this case.  AND.В.), this is the power of the prosecutor. The law gives him five days to make a decision from the moment the court refuses to extend the terms of the pre-trial investigation. However, the prosecutor did not make any decision. I don't know why he did that. (We are talking about the prosecutor of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Andrii Hrytsan — I.V.)

— But these are not at all the signals that society should receive from a state that calls out for the fight against corruption.

- I can say that when we are not allowed to finish the work in a legal way, then of course it upsets us. We take all possible measures within our powers to prevent this from happening.

— And what matters have Kolomoiskyi and Bogolyubov been going to NABU for lately? There are also questions about the searches that took place in one of them in Dnipro last week.

— I will not comment, because the pre-trial investigation and investigative actions are currently underway.

About Kaufman's bunker, Trukhanov's karma and schemes of local feudal lords

— If you look at the local level, then all our regions and regional centers are a kind of feudal estates. Somewhere more, somewhere less, but Kaufman and Granovsky are in Odessa at all the shores got confused. How long were these businessmen in development?

— Information About one and a half years ago, detectives received information about the illegal influence of certain individuals on the entire city and regional authorities. This influence was used for the personal enrichment of these persons in a criminal way. The detectives began to develop and obtained evidence that, in our opinion, proves that these individuals actually influenced the adoption of all local government decisions and actively used this influence. I will probably agree with you that each of the regions has its own more or less influential players, but we have no information that someone has "monopolized" the local government as much as in Odesa.

— Kaufman and Granovsky sat down on streams in Odesa, when NABU is still continuing the investigation of the criminal group Galanternyk, the founder of a large business on the budget and land of Odesa. Why did the tumor grow again in the same city? This is from impunity, from the permissiveness of the incumbent to, that you are not investigating the first case badly?

— In addition to the previous case about the activities of a criminal group in Odesa, which NABU is really still investigating, there are several other cases. In our opinion, we have collected enough evidence to bring to justice the top officials of the local self-government for the discovered facts of corruption. But you probably know that at the time, for example, when the so-called "Krayan plant case" was referred to the court on the charge of the current mayor of Odesa and other officials, the VAKS had not yet been created. Therefore, we referred the case to the local court (Malinovsky District Court of Odesa. — I.V.), who considered it at a "Stakhanov" pace and acquitted our accused. Apparently, this is also not the kind of signal that contributes to the fact that other people do not have the desire to do similar things. But this acquittal was later overturned, and the case is now being considered by the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court. I hope that VAKS will make a legal decision.

— Kaufman and Granovsky used a bunker to make eavesdropping impossible, had 100 people in the personal security service... This is a kind of cosa nostra.

— Indeed, the suspects tried to conspire as much as possible, they had special rooms equipped with eavesdropping protection, etc. They held the most important meetings and meetings there. This indicates that measures were taken to avoid being documented by law enforcement agencies.

— Before the 2020 local elections, ZN.UA did the project "Country on the shelves", where we laid out all, including business, stories of each regional center. Therefore, the "institute of onlookers" in Odesa, as in other cities, is not news to us. We have been waiting for your results. But two years have passed and the scheme is working. There is an array of wiretapping, there are arrests, searches took place, equipment and documents were seized... Where else can these threads lead? The regional administration, and this, for a moment, is the vertical of the president, is also involved.

— In our opinion, enough evidence has been collected today specifically regarding those persons who were notified of the suspicion. However, the pre-trial investigation continues.

— And Trukhanov continues to rule the city.

— The justice system must work. And if it is confirmed that a person has committed a crime, then he must answer for it, and he will answer. And if it is not confirmed, then all charges should be dropped. In general, we now have a lot of proceedings in Odesa, which relate to various schemes. Detectives also constantly monitor whether similar schemes are used in other regions.

— And what patterns are you currently applying to any community? Deputies on salaries, buyout of utility companies...

— Our corrupt officials are quite sophisticated. Immovable property of a small area is bought, for example, and for this immovable property, huge land massifs are taken out of communal ownership. This is a scheme according to which we have an investigation and persons who have already been held criminally liable. (We are talking about the case of Galanternyk, where he is acting as an organizer, and fifteen more suspects include the mayor of the city Genadiy Trukhanov, deputy mayor Petro Ryabokin, director of the municipal property department of the Odesa City Council Oleksiy Spektor, head of the legal department Inna Popovska, deputy head of the communal property department Volodymyr Radionov and others.  I.V.)

Companies are granted the right to develop liquid plots of communal property at no cost to the local community, but a criminal organization can receive millions of dollars for such services (depending on the size and location of the plot of land). That is, developers in general pay the market price for the right to build, but not to local self-government bodies. As the sums are impressive, the appeal of the vacant spot to the "watcher" outweighs the fear of being exposed. Rather, this fear encourages more resources to be allocated to security measures against detection by law enforcement agencies.

There are also schemes of so-called activities of joint enterprises. Commercial enterprises sign various contracts with some utility companies and in fact receive all the profits from their property. And the territorial community is left with nothing. And that's at best. More often - with losses and debts. In the future, such property, also often at an undervalued value, is alienated in favor of certain people.

And the most, perhaps, simple scheme is the privatization of real estate or property complexes of enterprises at a reduced cost.

— I know that Borys Filatov submitted several applications to NABU specifically regarding land histories, but you don't take on everything. Why? Because you have little energy? Because you are not sure of the effectiveness of this or that investigation, but you need to show the result?

— We have clear work criteria. If we see signs of the composition of the crime assigned to our jurisdiction, we register a criminal proceeding and investigate. If we do not see sufficient data that can indicate the existence of such a crime, we do not deal with this case.

And the forces are actually very limited. Currently, according to the staffing schedule, there are 241 detectives in the main unit. We still have ten vacancies. More than ten detectives are mobilized to the Armed Forces and other paramilitary formations. That is, in general, there are currently about 220 detectives working throughout the country. Each of the detectives is both an investigator and an operative. That is, each of them must identify crimes, investigate them, draw up indictments, etc. A total of 14-16 detectives work in each of the territorial offices of Kharkiv, Odesa, and Lviv of NABU. Compare that to other law enforcement agencies, whose investigative staff numbers thousands of people.

NABU press office

— Are there losses among the detectives at the front?

— Unfortunately, there is already one seriously wounded detective in the Kharkiv direction. I think he may be declared unfit for military service. God grant that he will be able to return to his official duties at NABU, but I do not know if this will be possible.

- Did you also have a business trip? For what purpose?

— With the beginning of the full-scale aggression of the Russian Federation, we, together with about 30 detectives, remained in Kyiv to participate in the defense of the capital. On February 25, detectives together with employees of the Special Operations Department of the National Bureau were sent to participate in the protection of a particularly important object in the government quarter of Kyiv. In the future, together with the SBU, they worked on identifying saboteurs, traitors and collaborators. Later, as part of operational combat groups with SBU employees participated in filtering measures against the population leaving the territories occupied by the enemy, conducted sweeps of liberated settlements, identified persons who aided the aggressor, took measures to document war crimes committed by the occupiers, etc.

In parallel with this, the reception of information from various sources about the places of concentration of equipment and manpower of the enemy was established, which was transmitted to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Ministry of Defense, and directly to military units and units that needed this information. The result is the confirmed defeat of dozens of columns of equipment of the Russian occupying forces, places of concentration of personnel and weapons, etc. In addition, cases of our troops falling into ambushes prepared for them by the occupiers were prevented. We also directly participated in aerial reconnaissance, advanced into the "gray zone", and even came under artillery fire.

Later, I and a number of other detectives were seconded to work in the Ministry of Defense's GUR. Some of the detectives worked (and still work) in the Interdepartmental Coordination Center for the use of special units of the security and defense sector, some were engaged in certain work in the temporarily occupied territories, which cannot be disclosed at the moment. From what has already been reported by NABU and GUR, it is possible to announce the evacuation of five servicemen (marines) who were hiding behind enemy lines.

— When the NABU and the entire anti-corruption bloc were created, such a healthy tool was meant, which later had to qualitatively reformat our entire law enforcement system. By his example. By dealing with the Odessa case, you send the right signal to both society and local elites. Maybe it's time to wave to one of them again?

— From the beginning of creation, we send a signal to all elites not to engage in such things. And we try to constantly increase the pace.

About relations with other security forces, problematic expertise and the Bankova factor

— You said that NABU still feels like a foreign body in the law enforcement system. Is there a risk that the system will reformat you and not you reformat it?

— We have some cooperation with various law enforcement agencies. It cannot be said that there are only scoundrels in all law enforcement agencies. There are always people who try to achieve some positive result, which is what all law enforcement agencies are created for. They periodically send us information, somewhere we cooperate and implement successful cases. Now we do not have such a confrontation with other law enforcement agencies, which was three years ago.

- Why? Are people inside the system changing or has the government changed?

— How to answer correctly... Under the previous government, we felt direct pressure from law enforcement agencies — the Security Service of Ukraine, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Prosecutor General's Office. They disrupted our operations, made false accusations against our employees. Absolutely groundless criminal proceedings were registered, with which they tried to put pressure on us. And it was quite a common phenomenon, when all the law enforcement agencies circled around us and tried to compromise us by any means, including illegal ones. Now, fortunately, I do not observe this. At least they don't prevent us from working openly.

— NABU has always had a difficult time conducting examinations.

— There were, and still are, problems with examinations. But for NABU, the law provides for the possibility of creating its own expert institutions for a more effective pre-trial investigation. We should not depend on the experts of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the Security Service of Ukraine, which have such institutions under their control. It is necessary to ensure this norm in the law on forensic examination. But, as far as I know, this issue is already being discussed with international partners.

— Who is scarier, from the point of view of influence on the law enforcement system — Smirnov or Tatarov?

— I cannot answer this question, it is not my job to give such assessments... For a large-scale reform, systemic changes based on political will are important.

— And when you look at the Prosecutor General's Office or pass by, do you feel partners there or not so much?

- I will refrain from answering.

About envelopes for deputies, the prosecutor general's factor and the quality of political elites

— We are still in the same situation in 2020 interview with Artem Sytnyk discussed the practice of envelopes for current members of the Verkhovna Rada under the "5–10–15" program. The pre-war rates of the "assistance fund" for deputies for loyalty during voting were significantly raised, and it was already about the "20-30-50" program. But the systematic outpouring of information, the impossibility of finding a witness who will actually testify, block the investigation. The ex-director of NABU spoke about these obstacles. And, according to our information, during Sytnyk's tenure, the Bureau lacked literally a few weeks to bring this matter to a logical conclusion. It's true?

— I can neither confirm nor deny this information. But I can say what is the problem with bringing people's deputies to criminal responsibility. WITHonly the general prosecutor can register criminal proceedings against a deputy. And we had very unhealthy precedents. During the term of office of one of the previous general prosecutors, we sent materials for the registration of criminal proceedings based on the fact that one of the people's deputies demanded a bribe of 40 million hryvnias from our applicant. However, instead of registration in the EDPR, a response was received that there are no grounds for registering criminal proceedings.

This is a wild and blatant case for people who work in or are connected to law enforcement. In fact, the person documented herself in the fact that she saved the deputy from criminal proceedings. (We are talking about the case of the deputy of the ruling party "Servant of the People" Pavel Halimon, who was saved by the Prosecutor General I. Venediktova at that time. — I.V.). Then, however, after some time, when this story became public property, this proceeding was registered. But, of course, the deputy stopped communicating with our applicant. The operation failed.

There were also other cases that gave reason to believe that there was a "leakage of information" about the fact that we were working for one or another people's deputy. Therefore, it is obvious that the law should eliminate the monopoly of the Prosecutor General on the entry of information into the National Register of Deputies. Oleksandr Klymenko, head of SAP, also mentioned this in his interview.

— So, you do not have access to the places where the system-forming corruption for the state has already formed/is being formed. What are we even talking about then?

NABU press office

— These cases, which I spoke about, took place under the previous leadership of the Prosecutor General's Office. With the current management, we have not had such cases. But I can't rule out that they might be. In order to eliminate such risks, it would be logical and correct to grant these powers to the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office.

Moreover, the current rule contradicts the concept of the Criminal Procedure Code, which provides that any investigator, having received information about a crime, without even verifying this information, must register a criminal proceeding and start a pre-trial investigation. If the legislator wants to create some additional guarantees for certain persons, a special procedure for bringing them to criminal liability is provided for this purpose. This, in my opinion, is logical, because certain categories of persons should be additionally protected due to greater risks of illegal interference in their activities. But this should not happen at the stage of registration of criminal proceedings. Because the very fact of registering the proceedings in no way restricts either their rights or their freedoms. The beginning of the investigation is recorded, then the law enforcement agency conducts an investigation and comes to some conclusions. That's when guarantees should be included, where a certain person in the prosecutor's office must check the sufficiency of the grounds.

— There was such a people's deputy from the monomajority, Anton Polyakov, who claimed that deputies were paid money in the parliament. But, unfortunately, he was gone.

— I can't talk about specific names, but speaking in general, many high-profile statements turn out to be just statements when checked. Like, they say, I know that somewhere there someone is giving something to someone. That's all the information. It is very similar to when grandmothers discuss the news on the bench.

— Are you talking about Polyakov now or about Sytnyk, who said that an investigation is underway and only rains are interfering?

- I can't say that about Sytnyk, maybe he knew something that I don't know.

- What, could it be?

- Theoretically, it could be, because we have units that do not report to me. I'm talking about those people who say that they know: someone is passing it on to someone. When you ask them questions: when, where, to whom and under what circumstances, and whether they are ready to help, they start to "blink their eyes". Very often such public statements are really just PR.

— But even the hypothetical possibility of corruption at the level of the state legislative body is a signal to everyone: anything is possible.

— The supreme power must really wish that it was not possible. This is the first. Secondly, people who make important decisions should receive a salary that would ensure a normal level of their existence. In our country, it happens that an official who makes decisions worth billions receives a salary that is not enough to support a family. However, not many people, not having a sufficient level of payment, will be able to resist the temptation when they are offered astronomical sums of money for one decision, one signature or one vote.

— The salaries of judges have been increased astronomically, but the quality of justice has not changed in our country. The anti-corruption unit is an exception. NAZK, SAP, NABU, VAKS were immediately built and selected according to other principles, but DBR - not. Therefore, the result is different there.

- That's why I say that this is one of the elements. The main thing is political will and the inevitability of punishment. But it is impossible to eradicate corruption from the government by the most punitive methods, especially in such a small unit as ours. We can pinpoint corruption in one or another area, but this must be followed by administrative, organizational and political decisions. The system must be rebuilt, because the process of catching bribers in itself, unfortunately, will not lead to the complete eradication of bribery.

— Are we talking about the quality of the current political elites?

— In general, about building a system, about the level of tolerance for corruption, which, in my opinion, is still quite high in society, elites and authorities. People who are accused of corruption in Ukraine remain completely on hand. They are promoted, they are interviewed by mass media, they are invited to public events. For me, it was telling when, upon receiving a bribe, we detained the then head of the investigative department of one of the district offices of the State Fiscal Service in the city of Kyiv. He was suspected of receiving $36 in bribes. (We are talking about Serhii Novachuk, who in July 2016 was caught in a bribery — I.V.). But during the time that this case was being investigated and heard in court, he first went for a promotion - in the status of acting duty, he began to manage the investigation of the SFS of the entire city of Kyiv, and then, as far as I know, he even worked in the main investigative department. Things like this should never happen to me.

About new cases, "Big construction" and customs and tax office

— Andriy Volodymyrovych, we were talking about old cases, but what about new ones? What are corruption-tolerant category "A" officials dressed in khakis earning now?

— Unfortunately, the trends have not changed much. There are budget funds that someone is always trying to appropriate, illegally pocket. There are people who take bribes. As they say, nothing new. But now it all looks extremely cynical... When some steal money and others sacrifice their lives.

- In any government, there are always people-markers. Everyone knows everything about them - neighbors, investigative journalists, human rights defenders... except law enforcement agencies. You are talking about the budget, and let me tell you the names everyone is listening. Golyk, Tymoshenko, Reznichenko, Arakhamia... Haven't you heard?

You can, of course, use the usual language template, saying that an investigation is underway, or you can give the public hope right now.

- Hearing or knowing and proving in the criminal procedural plan are completely different things. It is one thing to prove according to the standards of conditional journalistic investigation, to formulate some ideas about certain circumstances in society. It is quite another to make it so that the suspicion is first reported, and then the court pronounces the appropriate sentence. This is the first thing. Secondly, about certain things that you said, the information was public: a criminal proceeding was registered by the prosecutor's office, it came to us, and we are investigating it.

And when I said that there are schemes for seizing budget funds, it is based on the fact that we react to these schemes within the limits of our powers. And, believe me, what is in the mass media, what journalists talk about and write about, we also know and see it all. And we study all the facts that may indicate the existence of a crime and give them a proper assessment. I will not talk about specific facts and names, but we do not turn a blind eye to the corruption processes taking place within our jurisdiction.

— Please name a few more key, most popular schemes that feed our cynical corruptors.

- Example, supply of goods or services to the state at inflated prices through various "gasket" companies.

— By the way, I can add here the name of the famous Fistal dynasty, who both before the war and now purchase medical equipment as part of the same "Great Construction". Colossal funds are laundered from the budget during wartime. Equipment on a large scale is delivered many times more expensive than it is purchased.

NABU press office

— We know about similar facts, they are being investigated. By and large, such schemes exist in all directions. Cases with medical equipment are just one of them.

Another fairly common scheme is overestimating the amount of work performed. Sometimes there is a purchase on paper of things that do not exist, that are not supplied to the state. These are the main and most common trends that we define according to our line of work.

— Officials of what level are you currently developing in relation to the named schemes?

— Most of our developments involve high-ranking officials.

— Are they ministers, deputy ministers? Are you interested in the Ministry of Defense, for example? There are also bright names here - Sharapov, Shapovalov.

- You understand that I cannot name names.

- What about customs? Mr. Pavlyuk is still a marker here. Odesa is closed due to the war, but Western Ukraine is "working". Lviv, Zakarpattia, Volhynia... Crossing points Krakovets, Shegyny... Nothing has changed. Why? What are you doing to change this and when can we expect results?

— You and I have already tried to explain why nothing has changed. Some people decide for themselves that even during the war they can continue to do what they did before. Others do not obstruct. Do we deal with customs issues? So. When to expect results? We collect evidence. As soon as it is enough, the society will know about it. You understand that officials, especially from law enforcement agencies, are well informed about their own "weaknesses". And they are taking every possible measure to make it difficult for us to find these vulnerabilities and document their wrongdoing. Such officials are probably more than the 220 detectives currently investigating top corruption in the country. However, despite the limited resources, we do not stop. Although, of course, if the number of detectives in NABU was larger, then we could cover much more, and the results would be faster.

— And conversion centers?

— This is more of a parish of the Bureau of Economic Security. But if it is about corruption in the tax administration, then, if there are certain criteria for the subject, it may be of interest for our investigations.

— So you are engaged in blocking tax invoices? There is also a very big problem there now. I recently listened to the Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy, Mr. Vysotskyi told to the farmers that the officials cannot do anything about it, they say let the anti-corruption bodies work. The state does not listen to the farmers at all, the land has been taken away, and even the overhead officials are blocking it. To the people who carried both the sowing and the occupation on their shoulders... This is another future front of Ukraine.

— In fact, the most simple and effective way of settling this issue is administrative. The management of the tax service sees everything that happens in the regions, and they can influence it.

— And if they do not influence, then they are interested? They just take money out into the shadows. People say they want to work white, but they are simply not given it.

- So, the thoughts here are not entirely pure. And we have cases based on the facts of corruption of representatives of tax authorities.

— At what stage out of a hundred possible percent are these cases? Farmers are not alone. All the beaten Nasirov was suspected of bribery back in 2015. According to this logic, the tax authorities will be responsible for mass extortion of money from exporters in 2029?

— I cannot estimate the "degree of readiness" of the case in percentage terms.

- This is a normal question.

— This is not a construction object, about which it can be said that the degree of readiness is conditionally 66%.

— The degree of readiness of the collected evidence.

- It is not measured that way.

- Measure competently.

— We prosecuted seven customs officials as part of the investigation into the cases of a well-known Odessa smuggler. Among them are the head of the Kyiv Customs and his deputy, the director of the Department of Administration of Customs Payments of the Federal Tax Service. (Among these officials are the acting head of the Kyiv City Customs Serhiy Tupalsky, the deputy head of the Kyiv City Customs Yuriy Kovalenko, the acting head of the Customs Service No. 1 of the "Stolichny" customs post of the Kyiv City Customs Serhiy Osypov, etc. - I.V.). There are still a number of developments. As for the tax department, we prosecuted the former head of the Federal Tax Service and the head of one of the departments. But we also work on other corruption schemes involving tax service officials. I can't divulge the details at this time, but I hope that soon there will be results in the form of reports of suspicion to the persons involved.

— Ten months of war, the first shock has passed... But the corruption system does not change. And people? Do you have an example where people changed? They used to do badly, but now, when the war is going on, it's good?

— I can give an example of one of the defendants in our case, who became a whistleblower. He helped expose a criminal scheme involving a group of bribe-takers, after which he himself went to war. From the very beginning, he fought near Kiev, and now in the eastern direction. And I have the feeling that a person has realized: something really needs to be changed in life. There are such people. Regarding the system in general — unfortunately, yes, it does not change.

— Regarding whistleblowers. Evgeny Shevchenko. By the way, he was the first to write this post according to Kaufman and immediately made a referral to Bankova. How to perceive it? Is it James Bond or an adventurer?

— Evgeny is a whistleblower in a number of criminal proceedings that we investigated. As for his public activity, this is his area of ​​responsibility, we as an institution have no relation to it. Evgeny Shevchenko is a private person, he is not an employee or an agent of NABU.

— Does NABU have an appeal regarding the pressure and bribery of people's deputies when voting for the scandalous draft law No. 5655, which, thanks to the tough lobbying of the head of the ruling party, Mrs. Olena Shulyak, cements corruption in the urban planning sphere?

— Currently there is none, as far as I know.

About the competition, atmosphere in the team and expectations from the new manager

— What is the state of the NABU team now? Gizo Uglava managed to keep the team monolithic, are there different centers of influence, including ex-director Sytnyk?

— In my opinion, the Bureau has not undergone any special changes due to the end of the term of office of the director. The team works as before. The NABU team is monolithic, and it is one. We do not have the practice of creating individual teams of our own. This is one of the unique features of NABU. And, I hope, it will remain under the new director.

NABU press office

— There are very few strong representatives of NABU applied for the competition. Why didn't you go? Don't believe in yourself? In NABU? Is there anything else?

— I believe in NABU and myself. But, first of all, I don't want to give unnecessary reasons for insinuations that, they say, Sytnyk left a close person instead of himself. Secondly, the work of an official in Ukraine at such a high level is highly politicized. However, in my opinion, the level of a certain "masochism" should be a little higher in the position of director than it is in me.

- Why?

- Because when an official tries to do something useful, and in return receives only endless streams of dirt, then it must really look like masochism. The same goes for a level of publicity that would be excessive for me in that position today.

Well, the third reason is purely rational. Even if I had entered the top three, I am 99,9% sure that I would not have been appointed anyway. That is, I would learn a lot about myself, and not only me, from the mass media, all kinds of commissioned materials, etc. And there would still be no result from this. So I don't see the point in it.

— What manager are you waiting for? There are different versions of how the authorities prescribed conditions for their candidate in the law. But can NABU be shaken if a person comes who will try to nullify all your achievements?

— We all hope for a virtuous leader. If a person is unscrupulous and engages in vandalism, the team will not allow everything to be suddenly turned around and broken. Of course, the team will resist illegal actions. However, the powers of the director are still enough to nullify all the assets we have over time. But we all hope that this will not happen and that a worthy and professional person will become the head of NABU.

Inna Vedernikova


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