At the beginning of blatant Russian aggression in East Ukraine, the Ukrainian army was barefoot, naked, unarmed and defenseless. In spite of major bureaucratic hurdles and thanks to the efforts of volunteers, the army became equipped – financially and technically.
It begs an entirely legitimate question: what were our top military officials doing before, and why has this situation become possible at all?
No to Corruption! looked into the situation by examining the example of one former Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Vyacheslav Kredysov.
He held this post under the Minister Hrytsenko in 2005–2006, and was in charge of economic and financial issues. He was said to have been engaged in the sale of surplus military property and was dismissed because of his “loss of morality.”
Now, as the head of the association of entrepreneurs “New Formation,” former statesman Vyacheslav Kredysov pretends to take a patriotic, pro-Ukrainian position. He is in favor of the return of Crimea to Ukraine, and offers generous advice to the military. Having said that, we can only add that Kredysov’s media activities became especially noticeable after law enforcement authorities seized all assets to which he laid claims.
In parallel with his statesman’s activities, Kredysov filed a lawsuit against a five-year-old girl, Darynka, over an apartment. Allegedly, the apartment was built by the company that Kredysov co-owns, and on land that he allegedly purchased from the Ministry of Defense.
Darynka’s mother, Natalia Tolub, expanded on the whole business of the apartment and lawsuit:
“Three years ago, we bought an apartment in the residential complex called Kotsyubynsky from the developer company Avers City. We paid for that [the apartment] in full. The day the residential complex was commissioned, police subpoenaed the property because the previous developer, RBI, failed to settle tax issues with Nadra Bank. The arrest was initiated by Mr. Kredysov, who seven years prior co-owned the complex. He has since dissolved the partnership and thus wanted to return his share of apartments in the complex, which, I must remind you, have been sold to bona fide owners who had no idea about any discords between the previous co-owners and developer.”
Kredysov filed a lawsuit to dispossess Darynka, her mother, and 20 other families from their apartments in the residential complex Kotsyubynsky. His main argument in court is based on this document below – an application to his former business partners. After breaking his relationship with the owners, he laid claims on 40% of the property complex, producing the contract on the apartment with the builder, RBI (which went bankrupt in 2007), as evidence. This begs the question why he has disputed the deal only now, when the deadline for filing a statement of claim has long passed
However, if you take a closer look at the whole history of the transfer of apartment rights within the Kotsyubynsky complex from developers to flat owners, Mr. Kredysov’s claims Mr. Kredysov seem ”halfway false,” as they say.
According to Natalia Tolub, as the owners of the apartment they do not have any documented relation to the front company Moli-Invest-Ukraine, or to Kredysov personally. “Neither does he, which is clear from this block chart,” Natalia said. The apartments do not belong to him. He uses the legal system to try to to dispossess ordinary citizens from their homes.
For clarity’s sake, this table clearly shows how Darynka’s apartment changed ownership.
“We had to fight for the ownership of our apartment using the court system. We won the case in High Specialized Court of Ukraine for Civil and Criminal Cases (HSCU), first and second counts, and made it out as a grant in the name of our child. All of sudden, here comes Kredysov and, through his fake company Moli-Invest-Ukraine (by the way, this company employs one person and is not involved in any business activity), he argues that he has contracts on 20 apartments. He does not elaborate on the fact that the relevant documents are from many years ago, indicating that he has long sold these apartments to another physical entity. After that, the properties were resold twice and only then we bought an apartment from the new developer, Avers City. The commercial court declared the previous developer (RBI) bankrupt and appointed a creditor in bankruptcy, who subsequently sold us the apartment.
“In the meantime, the courts turned a blind eye to these facts. Kredysov’s lawyers are not shy to assure us a week prior to the hearings that we all are going to lose. And we did. The court overturned their previous decision. It is absolutely illegal. The court voided our neighbors’ title to their apartment in their absence in favor of Moli-Invest-Ukraine. Our neighbors were then evicted and made to pay all the court fees to Kredysov. This happened all in one session, mind you. It is something beyond the limits of good and evil,” Natalia said. She suggested that there was a financial reward behind the courts’ verdicts in favor of Kredysov.
“We showed our resolution to various lawyers, the Lustration Committee, the Council of Justice (the new one). They were shocked by the insolence of the judges. Again, the HSCU canceled its previous decision in our favor saying the resolution was premature! The lawyers just could not understand what this meant. This is contrary to all laws. HSCU cannot reverse its decision in the same case. Moreover, we are a bona fide purchaser that has fully paid for the property. So the answer to the question why the court did not see the documents proving that our apartment has been sold by Kredysov is too clear,” Natalia sighed.
The family has taken their complaint far and wide. “The other day I got a call ffrom the prosecutor’s office. They were indignant that I dared to write so many complaints against them! The new MIA leadership said they cannot help us even though that they knew that Kredysov robbed the Defense Ministry blind and that he is a crook. Today, I must rely only on myself and the support of the media and the public.
“We made many inquiries to parliament and several applications to the PGO. They wrote to all possible authorities – from the Presidential Administration, to commissioners for human and children’s rights. The result is nothing. They respond that all documents in the case have been re-sent to the prosecution. Prosecutors a year ago told us that the case was illegal, but did not open any criminal proceedings. I have filed a complaint with the PGO on charges of crimes against a minor child, in particular, summoning her for questioning during an investigation.
“That’s how it happened. When at Kredysov’s request our flat was once again seized by the Kyivo-Sviatoshynsky district tax authority, which, incidentally, has nothing to do with us, our four-year-old child was sent an official summons for questioning. Of the 20 apartments in question, only our family got the summons. I understand that was solely because of my active stance in the war on Kredysov. So, my child, who cannot read and does not know how to write, had to explain to the tax people why my developer did not pay taxes. I took my colleagues and journalists with me and went for questioning. The tax clerks shut the door in our face and shouted there was no one in the shop. After this footage was shown on television, the people involved in the summoning of my child for questioning, got fired,” said Natalya.
She added: “Maybe I am too active. I put up fight, so no wonder I receive summons for my daughter and threats against my family. Last year, they opened criminal proceedings in light of threats against me, but not a single cop has called me, so they simply let the case drop”
This is the copy of the summons from the district tax authority, which Darynka received. Not a single word here indicates that her representatives, rather than herself, are summoned for questioning, according to the law. In the courts, guardianship represents families.
In the meantime, Mr. Kredysov is suing apartment owners in the residential complex Kotsyubynsky in courts outside the capital. This February, a court in Ivano-Frankivsk looked into the case that Kredysov launched without his false company but in person, and immediately voided the state registration of all 20 apartments. The owners hadn’t the slightest idea that this had happened.
Natalia said, “by taking Kredysov’s action, the Ivano-Frankivsk District Court has violated all legal procedures and laws, because the legal disputes on property can be heard by its location, i.e. in Kyiv. The very text of the claim was so unprofessional it made our lawyers laugh their heads off. However, the court accepted it. Thanks to huge public support and assistance from the Right Sector, the judges had to abide by the law and close the case.
Now Kredysov took the case to the Lviv Administrative Court of Appeal. The hearings were slated to open on 28 August. He requires the reconsideration of the first court’s decision on the grounds that it violated the rights of his company, Moli. I might ask about the rights of my neighbors who are being evicted without any compensation?” Natalia wondered.
Natalia said she had even communicated personally with the former Deputy Defense Chief.
“First, I was asked to get involved in the mudslinging campaign against the developer. Then I was asked to sign an agreement about the sale of my own apartment (without any certificate of payment). Eventually, Kredysov said he had everyone in his pocket and no one would help us. His people are keeping track of all my comments to the media, and then they call media outlets to tell them what a scam I am. They have become a laughingstock for journalists. On Facebook they sniff around about where I work and what I would do if my child goes to court. I have to repeat: the public support is on my side, the flat is mine and I won’t give up, because my husband and I have worked for years to earn this apartment!” said Natalia. She says she does not trust the Ukrainian courts, but believes in publicity and public support. Unfortunately, her neighbors who own the 20 remaining apartments, on which Kredysov laid claims, are disunited and prefer to wage the legal battles on their own. She says they do not believe that Ukrainian courts may take illegal decisions and deprive them from their properties. Unfortunately, they are mistaken.
On the other hand, there was one first significant breakthrough in the battle between flat owners and Kredysov as law enforcers opened a case and began a pre-trial investigation on fraud charges against Kredysov. It turns out that Kredysov may be facing something more than the Aver City developer claims…
“After great difficulty, we convinced the police and prosecutors to open the pre-trial investigation on charges of large-scale fraud. All thanks to Kyiv’s Economic Crime Department. We must pay credit where it is due: they immediately re-opened the case and placed it under special control,” Natalia rejoiced.
It remains to be seen, however, what the Lviv court has to say.
Valentyna Novitska, No to Corruption!