Ukraine freezes $144 million in foreign accounts as part of an investigation into the case of violation during the procurement of two offshore drilling rigs of Chornomornaftogaz in 2011-2012, Head of Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko has announced, Interfax-Ukraine reports.
“We have received information and, through an international financial monitoring system, we have frozen funds worth around $144 million in overseas accounts. We continue analyzing the flow of funds in the accounts to which the stolen money was transferred and we may arrive at further suspicions as a result of the analysis,” Lutsenko said at a briefing in Kyiv on Friday.
According to evidence obtained by the institution, a part of the money stolen during the drilling rigs transaction was distributed in the following way: $95 million were transferred to accounts controlled by ex-President Viktor Yanukovych and ex-head of the National Bank Serhiy Arbuzov. Another $25 million went to accounts under the control of Svitlana Bakulina, ex-CEO of Naftogaz Yevhen Bakulin’s daughter. Lastly, $15 million were transferred to accounts under the control of the owner of a Latvia-based company Rigas Kugu Buvetava Vasyl Melnyk.
Additionally, Lutsenko said that the ex-deputy CEO of Naftogaz Yevhen Korniychuk got $2 million in cash. Vasyl Yasyuk, who was the head of Chornomornaftogaz at the time received $3 million. Natalya Ihnatchenko, head of the supervisory board at Vernum Bank got $4 million, whereas $100,000 went to the head of the commerce department at Chornomornaftogaz.
“Also, Oleksandr Katsuba, deputy chairman of Chornomornaftogaz was promised $1-2 million for the purchase of a house in Kyiv region following the embezzlement of money during the purchase of the second rig. Nevertheless, because of the media attention he wasn’t given cash. This enabled him to cooperate with the investigation last year,” Lutsenko added.
According to him, the cost of the two drilling rigs was overvalued by $409 million. Due to the scandal, a fraction of the money was spent on other equipment for the rigs in order to create the façade of a fair price.
“In fact, they managed to embezzle $144 million, as proved by the materials of the investigation and the findings of the examination,” Lutsenko concluded.