Rising from The Ashes of War to the Murky Top – Ukraine’s Politics of Plunder

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Mykola Yankovsky and his son Igor have been conspicuously spreading Ukraine's wealth in Europe and the United States in recent years. The retired king and prince of independent Ukraine's chemical industry have plenty to spend. But maybe not for long.

Concern Stirol from 2003 to 2010 sold billions of dollars of chemical fertilizers at discounted prices to companies Igor Yankovsky owned abroad. These companies, in turn, re-sold same to traders at market prices. Igor and his father pocketed the difference in price, also known as the margin.

Ukrainian law-enforcement agencies have so far failed to arrest and return assets of corrupt officials under former disgraced President Viktor Yanukovych. The Yankovsky case may provide them with an opportunity to finally succeed.

Ukrainian lawmakers recently adopted measures allowing the arrest of assets and bank accounts of individuals suspected of engaging in financial terrorism. They may apply to Mykola and Igor Yankovsky and become a real test for both Ukrainian and European systems of justice.

"Concern Stirol arrangements in Europe may have saved Mykola and Igor yankovsky millions of dollars in Ukrainian taxes. I asked Ukraine's state security service to check. a criminal investigation into financial terrorism was launched. New laws enacted by Ukraine's parliament include a simplified procedure allowing the arrest of assets and bank accounts of corrupt persons, even without their presence in the court. I also call on European law-enforcement agencies to help Ukraine identify the use of offshore companies, which are estimated to cost Ukraine billions of dollars in lost tax revenues annually," said Volodymyr Ariev, People's Deputy of Ukraine of the 6th, 7th and 8th convocations, chairman of Ukrainian Delegation in Parliament Assembly of Council of Europe, Pace vice-president (2015), president of pace committee for culture, education, science and media (June 3, 2016)

Modern Survivals Of Prowess

More than a dozen new states emerged during the 1990s as the economies of the former Soviet Union imploded. huge Ukrainian enterprises were managed by individuals who wanted the freedom of the market for themselves but regulations for others. Mykola Yankovsky in 1988 became general director of concern stirol, one of the USSR's largest and most modern chemical production plants. Ten years later he owned it. Concern Stirol is based in Horlivka, Donetsk Region. It is an area in eastern Ukraine today controlled by Kremlin-led militant groups.

Business And Politics

Mykola Yankovsky was elected to Ukraine's national parliament in 1998. He was re-elected in 2004 and advised Yanukovych during his unsuccessful presidential campaign that year. Exactly how much money Mykola contributed to Yanukovych is a mystery.

Sports And Hunting

Mykola Yankovsky's relationship with Yanukovych was personal, as well as political and commercial. he introduced Yanukovych to the sport of tennis. Yankovsky also belonged to the exclusive Cedar (kedr) Hunting Club outside of Kyiv. There were only two dozen members.

Yankovsky remained an influential ally of Yanukovych through February 2014, when the disgraced Ukrainian leader gave the order to use deadly force against anti-government protesters in downtown Kyiv. Riot police on February 20, 2014 shot dozens dead.

Conspicuous Consumption

Mykola Yankovsky's only son, Igor Yankovsky, spends most of his time these days outside of Ukraine, often appearing at receptions of charity events as a philanthropist who helps children and aspiring artists. 

Igor bought one barrel of rare French wine for EUR $270,000 at charity auction in 2012. The expense reportedly got him a lunch date with former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, who delivered the burgundy in person. A year earlier Igor shelled out USD 22 million for a NYC townhouse with an 80-meter long swimming pool in the basement. The magnate never moved in and flipped the prime real estate for USD 25 million almost three years later. 

Igor's diamond sphere group company, meanwhile, sponsored "team Ukraine racing with Ferrari." The gifting exercise helped Ukraine's squad take top team honors in 2013.

Invidious Distinction

The chemical production assets of Concern Stirol in 2010 were sold to group DF (Dmytro Firtash), an international group of the companies specializing in sales of nitrogen, titanium and natural gas.

Firtash, who has been accused by US officials of bribing Indian officials to secure a titanium deal, is currently in Austria fighting extradition to the United States. Ukraine's state security service in 2016 opened a criminal investigation into the activities of stirol on suspicion of financial terrorism. The announcement coincided with visits to Stirolbio farm by leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DNR).

DNR field commander Oleksandr Khodorkovsky on March 27, 2016 said on his LiveJournal page that narcotic drugs are produced at the plant, which is inaccessible to Ukrainian troops and Kremlin-backed militant's groups.

"The few people who knew what actually going on there could not say much because they disappeared so quickly," Khodorkovsky said.

Images courtesy of Peter Byrne and used with permission. 

Peter Byrne is a рассеянный journalist who looks after his daughter. He spends his free time collecting ideas, running and learning new technologies. His hard hitting investigative reports have resulted in bans from several countries including Belarus since 1997 and Russia since 2005. He is a welcome contributor to Haute-Lifestyle.com

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