Switzerland declassifies bank accounts of Yefremov family: Why is it important for Ukraine?

Author : News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

Bank accounts will be blocked until Ukraine proves in court the criminal origin of money
23:10, 14 May 2018

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Swiss authorities disclosed to Ukrainian law enforcers information about the million-dollar bank accounts of the relatives of the former Partiya Rehioniv (Party of Regions) chairman Olexander Yefremov. According to the documents that DW received, since 2006 almost 900 million UAH have been gathered on these accounts. Why is this information important for Ukraine?

What did Switzerland declassify?

According to the information of the Swiss Anti-Money Laundering Authority, since 2006 33 million Swiss francs have been received from the companies of Cyprus, the British Virgin Islands, and Canada, which belong to the son and daughter-in-law of Olexander Yefremov. The Ukrainian prosecutor's office reported on the million bank accounts of Yefremov's relatives back in November 2017. Then it was noted that the funds are of illegal origin. Earlier, the FBI informed on the withdrawal of millions of dollars from these companies to the accounts. And only now Switzerland has confirmed the information and started cooperation with the Ukrainian investigators.

What Yefremov has to do with it?

The fact is that the mentioned above accounts appear in the case opened against Olexander Yefremov, who is currently in custody. Law enforcers keep him there on suspicion of committing other crimes.

At the end of July 2014, the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine opened a criminal case against him on the abuse of power - pressure on officials of the state enterprise Luhanskvuhillia during the procurement procedure for installation of mining equipment and low-voltage equipment (Yefremov was in 1998-2005 chairman of Luhansk Regional State Administration, since 2006 - People's Deputy of the Party of Regions).

As a consequence, according to the charges, the enterprise concluded contracts with Yefremov-controlled entities of economic activity at inflated prices, which caused significant damage to the state.

"According to the information received from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the framework of international cooperation, since June 2006, FACE_2 (Yefremov, - Ed.) through Ukrkomunbank PJSC transferred significant sums of money that are measured in millions of US dollars, to the companies-non-residents of Ukraine, which are under his control," said in a court message.

In addition, the document notes: "During the pre-trial investigation it was established that the formal owner of  Ukrkomunbank PJSC is FACE_8, who was in the position of deputy of the FACE_2 during the period of his leadership of the Luhansk regional state administration."

As follows from the Swiss judicial documents, Luhanskvuhillia bought from the Yefremov’s firms mine equipment for a total of (about) 374 million Swiss francs in the period from 2008 to 2014.

Often Yefremov's companies won tenders, despite the fact that they sold equipment at times more expensive than their competitors.

According to Ukrainian investigators, the suspects used a fictitious company with an authorized capital of 100 hryvnias, registered in Lviv. The manager of the company took millions of hryvnias transferred by the Yefremov’s firms and gave them to specific people for a reward of 200-400 hryvnia. A significant part of the funds was exported abroad.

On February 14, 2015, Yefremov was detained on charges of abuse of power, but on February 17 he was released on bail of 3.6 million UAH, which was paid for him by MP Borys Kolesnikov. Yefremov was detained on July 29, 2016, on suspicion of high treason, encroachment on the territorial integrity and state sovereignty of Ukraine, seizure of state buildings, as well as assistance in the creation of a terrorist organization "LNR". The next day Yefremov was taken into custody, the court repeatedly extended the measure of restraint to him.

What is the situation with the accounts of Yefremov in Switzerland?

According to media reports, Ihor Yefremov (Yefremov-junior) and his wife live in Vienna. And they "fight" for their Swiss accounts since 2016, when 33 million Swiss francs were blocked. The couple urged the Swiss judges that the criminal cases against Olexander Yefremov were "political reprisals" and even compared him to businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky. But the arguments were not taken into account. According to the decision of the Federal Court of Switzerland on March 21, published in the register of court decisions in early May, the accounts of the Yefremov will be blocked until Ukraine proves in court the criminal origin of the funds.

What's next?

According to the DW, the Federal Department of Justice of Switzerland, on the basis of a decision of the federal court, transferred to Ukrainian investigators bank documents on the flow of funds on the accounts of the Yefremov in mid-April. Also, law enforcement officers from Ukraine received the materials of the criminal case on the suspicion of Ihor Yefremov in money laundering, including the protocols of his interrogation. This case in Switzerland was closed in 2015 due to lack of evidence, explained the local prosecutor's office.

Now it’s the turn of Ukrainian investigators and judges. It is noteworthy that in March 2017 the Court of Appeal of the city of Kyiv recognized the suspicion against the ex-MP (in the episode of economic crimes) as "unreasonable". Then it was noted that "the information on the results of public procurement, as well as the statement of malfeasance contained in the materials of the judicial proceedings, turned out to be such that it is impossible to read because of the extremely low quality of its copying." It should also be noted that earlier the court itself made a decision on access to Yefremov's things and documents that were in the National Bank building, but allowed to make only copies (without seizure of securities).


Now Yefremov is kept in custody - until June 25. The investigation is at the stage of interrogation of witnesses. How will the Swiss papers affect the course of the case? If only copies were readable...

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