Kostyantyn Kulyk. Being a prosecutor in Ukraine pays better when you use your family to hide money

Kostyantyn Kulyk is the former prosecutor of Ukraine’s Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) and currently, the deputy head of the Department of International Legal Cooperation of the Prosecutor General's Office (PGO). The Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SATO) of Ukraine has been trying a case against him for illicit enrichment since July 2016. Yet the latest hearing hasn’t shown much progress, as the court rejected the prosecutors’ petition to set bail for the defendant, as well as to set penalty for the defendant’s repeated absence in court for no valid reason; a decision that has no logical explanation.

While the trial is still on, reporter Iryna Salii writes about the interesting story of Kulyk’s apartment for the Sudovyi reporter [Judicial Reporter]

In September of last year, Kulyk filed a lawsuit for the recognition of a mortgage contract on his apartment as suspended.

Legend has it that in September of 2014 some Igor Butanov, known as the founder of the participant companies in the Ukrzaliznitsya (Urkanian Railways) tenders, borrowed 1 million hryvnias from Iryna Nimets, the mother of Kulyk’s children, which Kulyk not only didn’t object to, but he even vouched for Butanov with his own apartment.

The apartment with an area of 249 sq. m. in the elite building in Kiev was gifted to Kulyk by his mother, who incidentally also owns the 153 sq. m. apartment next door. Although Kulyk’s senior citizen mother purchased both of these apartments on September 15th of 2011, she prefers to live in a village in Kharkiv region which is around 500km from Kiev.

However, it happened so that the apartment gifted to Kulyk by his mother was used to vouch for LLC Veltorg 2013, together with two other guarantors – two companies owned by Evhen Zhylin. Thanks to its influential guarantors, the newly formed and little-known company took out a 15 million hryvnias loan from PJSC FinBank. The company was liquidated in summer of 2014 due to loss making.

During that same summer unidentified persons enlisted some Borys Kovalenko (previously convicted or theft and document forging) to impersonate a PJSC FinBank representative with a fake power of attorney and suspend the mortgages at the state registrar’s office. Thus, freeing the property of Kulyk’s mother and Zhylin. Kovalenko was sentenced to 5 years and 1 months of imprisonment with confiscation of property in April of 2017. Other participants of the transaction remained unidentified and in September of 2017 the court withdrew any encumbrance off the Kulyk’s apartment and Zhylin’s properties.

Even though the shell-company Veltorg 2013 owed 18.7 million hryvnias, it did not face any consequences. Neither did the guarantors of the loan – Kulyk’s mother and Zhylin’s companies. The only lawsuit filed by the bank was a civil one, against Kovalenko (which they lost with no reasoning from the court).

Almost 19 million hryvnias disappeared into thin air. The prosecutor Kulyk came out clean. Even more so, a few months after the Kovalenko’s sentencing, Kulyk received the Order of Merit from the President.

Another interesting fact, at the end of 2004, Kulyk’s mothers company Construction Center Ayudar participated in the tender held by Ukrzaliznychpostach for the supply of anthracite coal, which is extracted in the occupied territories. Price of the matter – 100 million hryvnias. Her son was ATO prosecutor of Ukraine at the time.

Kulyk’s father was the military prosecutor in Kharkiv in the ‘90s. Therefore, the origin of the family’s wealth remains unclear.

Yet there is so much we still don’t know. For instance, how did Kulyk’s mother have $700 thousand to lend to some Nadiya Tysovska in May of 2014? The story ended two years later, when the court ruled in favor of Kulyk’s mother and recovered her money with an interest, coming up to the amount of $923 thousand.

Going back to why did Kulyk vouch with his apartment for an unknown man’s loan from the mother of his children. Iryna Nimets can no longer be called Kulyk’s civil wife as in 2016 Iryna proved in court that they have no family relations (although she did give birth to another Kulyk’s child after that). This might have something to do with the fact that Kulyk is being prosecuted for illicit enrichment (which could include Iryna’s property as well).

Butanov borrowed money from Nimets for 3 months until 17 December 2014. I’d be interesting to learn whether he paid off his loan and why is it now that Kulyk initiated the suspension of mortgage agreement?

In any case, it is obvious that Kulyk’s seeking to rehabilitate himself. National Agency on Corruption Prevention, without waiting for the verdict, has already looked at Kulyk’s declaration and concluded that his action did not show signs of illicit enrichment. Somehow, the origin of his mother’s fortune does not seem to be an issue. Kulyk’s ambition of becoming a true anti-corruption prosecutor is obvious, but will his shady past stand in his way? Or will corruption, once again, win?

Unfortunately, weirder things have happened in Ukraine. So for now, lets wait and see how Kulyk’s story will unfold.

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