According to the leak of financial documentation, Pandora Papers, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his associates may have been involved in a transfer of 40 million dollars from the companies of the oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi. Information on this matter was provided by the investigative portal Slidstwo.Info. Prosecutor General Iryna Wenediktowa expressed doubts as to whether the reports were true.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) revealed on Sunday secret documents package proving that politicians and officials from various countries have used offshore companies to buy real estate and avoid taxes. Pandora Papers – as the disclosed documents were called – is about 12 million files with a total volume of 2.94 TB, which makes it the largest leak ever published by the ICIJ. These include 6.4 million documents, 2.9 million photos or graphics, and 1.2 million e-mails.
They concern about 35 former and current leaders and over 300 officials from different countries. The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, is also on the list.
Data from 14 tax havens financial services companies disclosed under Pandora Papers, partially confirmed the scheme of transferring money from the structures of Ihor Kolomoysky to the companies of Zelensky and his associates registered in tax havens, wrote the Ukrainian portal Slidstwo.Info. Journalists identified the end owners of the companies that could receive the funds. As it was added, the money could be part of the story related to the withdrawal and laundering of money from PrivatBank, co-owned by Kołomojski.
Journalists of Slidstwa.Info found confirmation of the information that was published during the 2019 presidential campaign in Ukraine. They concerned a scheme according to which the companies of Zelenskiy and his associates registered in tax havens were to receive 40 million dollars from companies related to Kolomoyskyi from 2012. It took place at the beginning of the cooperation of Quarter 95 with the 1 + 1 television station. Kwartał 95 is a cabaret program company founded, among others, by by Zelensky. 1 + 1 is Kolomoyskyi TV.
The issue of an unknown company Maltex
Documents confirm that in 2012 the current president of Ukraine registered with his associates more than 10 companies in the British Virgin Islands, Belize and Cyprus. The “heart” of this network was the previously unknown company Maltex Multicapital Corp. According to the documents, Pandora Papers Maltex was equally divided between the companies of Zelenskiy and the brothers Serhiy and Boris Bossirs and Andrija Jakowlew, the writer and director of the 95 Quarter.
The nominal owner of Maltex was Davegra Limited owned by the then current head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Ivan Bakanov. Bakanov signed a declaration of trust, which determines the relationship between the nominal and real owner of the company, Slidstwo.Info reported.
Asset structures expert Maksym Hrekov emphasized in a comment for Slidstwa.Info that such declarations are usually signed to keep the real owner of the company secret. – So Ivan Bakanov’s company acted as the nominal owner of Maltex Multicapital in order to hide the real (owner) – Volodymyr Zelensky and his partners – he said.
Pandora Papers show that $ 40 million was formally paid as a contribution to the share capital.
Zelensky’s office: there will be no answer
At the same time, companies registered in tax havens could take part in money laundering from PrivatBank – claims Slidstwo.Info. Additionally, according to the portal’s sources, the money was transferred through the Cypriot branch of PrivatBank – the same branch with which the oligarch could launder money. New documents show that at least one of the companies had an account with this bank.
Slidstwo.Info tried to contact all the people mentioned in the story, but only Boris Szefir replied. When asked why Quarter 95 needed companies in tax havens, he replied: “Please ask our legislators, who created such a situation that business is constantly threatened by bandits who come to power. At that time it was very important to protect their interests “. He added that he had started closing down parts of the business registered in tax havens.
Journalists also tried to obtain Zelensky’s position on this matter, but heard that “there will be no answer”.
The publication of Slidstwo.Info was referred to by the prosecutor general, Iryna Wenediktova, who expressed doubts as to whether it was true. She added that “all information related to the activities of PrivatBank has long been available to officials of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, has already been verified, and now is examined almost under a microscope”.
Main photo source: president.gov.ua