Alexander Gorobets: Ukraine’s Anti-mafia against Lazarenko #2

Committee’s leaders Grigory Omelchenko and Anatoly Yermak institution on legal proceedings against the leader of the pro-president party “Working Ukraine” Sergey Tigipko. The Anti-Mafia Committee believes that Sergey Tigipko, former vice-premier, who is now one of the most active authorities and co-owner of Privatbank, was involved in money laundering abroad. The money is said to have been obtained illegally through Privatbank. In addition, it was Sergey Tigipko who ordered the investigation of Gongadze’s case to be handled by the US detective agency KROLL.

Information on money laundering was published for the first time in a staff report of Ukraine’s Internal Minister Kravchenko to President Kuchma on May 7, 1996. The sum mentioned in the report was $150 million. However, no reaction followed from the government regarding the problem. Moreover, being aware of the money laundering, the president appointed Sergey Tigipko vice-premier for the problems of economic reforms on April 8, 1997, but on April 10, 1997, Rukh’s leader, Vyacheslav Chernovol, said that Tigipko’s appointment to the post revealed the strengthening of the Dnepropetrovsk-originating clan in the government. This statement was also ignored.

On April 12, 1997 Sergey Tigipko said that he considers himself to be a member of the president’s team. He said that only the president was authorized to dismiss him; but if it happens, Sergey Tigipko would regain the post of Privatbank’s president.

Deputies Grigory Omelchenko and Anatoly Yermak have listed the companies with which Sergey Tigipko probably cooperated: he helped them with the illegal transfer of money transfer. For example, 7,486 billion Ukrainian rubles ($50,765,000), 295 million Russian rubles ($65,000), 8,300 DM and $88 million were transferred through Privatbank to Latvia in 1995. The Anti-Mafia Committee's leaders say that this testifies to the fact that money transferred abroad from Ukraine never returns, and if it does, then in cash dollars.

Within the period of 1993-2001, Sergey Tigipko is said to have created a network of interrelated companies, insurance companies, and commercial institutions, then deposited large sums of money as a share of the equity capital. The deputies listed those companies and enterprises in which the money was deposited and from which Sergey Tigipko profited. In addition, the party headed by Tigipko is considered to be Leonid Kuchma’s.

The deputies demand the institution of legal proceedings against Sergey Tigipko and organization of a complete investigation of the economic activity of the enterprises founded by him and his wife; they also demand an investigation of the money laundering case. They also offer to investigate the observance of the tax legislation by the companies founded by Sergey Tigipko.

There is an opinion in Kiev that Anti-Mafia Committee's attacks are connected with the fact that Sergey Tigipko is one of the leaders of pre-election coalition “For a united Ukraine!”, which supports the president. However, the deputies mentioned (Grigory Omelchenko and Anatoly Yermak) are members of Julia Timoshenko’s coalition. They name Sergey Tigipko “Lazarenko #2” in the claim. Pavel Lazarenko, ex-prime minister of Ukraine, is said to be an aid in the rise of a new oligarch, Sergey Tigipko.

Alexander Gorobets PRAVDA.Ru Kiev Ukraine

Translated by Maria Gousseva

In the photo: Sergey Tigipko

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