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Research Center for Eastern Europe: Zelenskyj’s „Off-Shore Deals – A shady president cashes in“.

Research Center for Eastern Europe at the University of Bremen

On October 2, 2021, the International Network of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) informed the world public about the existence of the so-called Pandora Papers, a data leak of 12 million documents from 14 sources. These also contain data on previously unknown offshore transactions of the „Kvartal-95“ network around the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskij and his connections to the oligarch Ihor Kolomoiskij and the „PrivatBank“, which he operated until 2016 and then nationalized.

After switching to Kolomoiskiy’s television channel „1+1“, Zelenskiy and his closest associates Borys and Serhiy Shefir and Andriy Yakovlev founded a network of offshore companies from 2012, including the company „Maltex“ in the British Virgin Islands. This in turn held half of the production company „SVT“, which produced the TV format „Bring den Komiker zu Lachen“ for „1+1“. For this, she received $1.2 million from Sprintex-Holding, another offshore company that is part of Kolomoiskij’s corporate network. As the owner of the “PrivatBank”, which was nationalized in 2016, he is suspected of having shifted large sums of bad loans to his own foreign companies in order to protect them from access by the Ukrainian tax authorities.

Before the nationalization, 41 million dollars were said to have been transferred from the „private bank“ to the account of Zelensky’s production company „Kvartal 95“. The transfer was made through the Cypriot branch of “PrivatBank”. This transfer was marked as a „contribution to capital“ and not as payment for a service. Thus, the company was exempt from tax payments over this amount.

Just two weeks before the first round of the Ukrainian presidential election, ownership of Maltex changed. Until then, it was held by the four shareholders Volodymyr / Olena Seleskij, Borys Schefir, Serhij Schefir and Andrij Yakovlev, each with 25 percent.

Global scammers and rip-off artists. They are swimming in money.

On March 13, 2019, the lawyer Yuriy Azarov notarized a document on the transfer of the shares in „Maltex“ previously held by Zelenskyy and his wife Olena to Serhiy Shefir’s company. These were not sold, but were written over by Zelensky to Serhiy Shefir free of charge. This transaction is interpreted as an attempt by Zelensky to cover up assets subject to disclosure before the presidential election. Serhiy Shefir was appointed the president’s chief adviser the day after Zelenskyy’s election. He occupies a non-regular position that does not have civil servant status and therefore does not compel its holder to disclose his property.

According to Shefir, Zelensky is no longer actively involved in the business, but still receives dividends. On April 25, 2019, Yuriy Azarov certified a document stating that „Maltex“ would continue to pay dividends to Zelenskyy and his wife, although they were no longer shareholders. These holdings were not specified in the couple’s income declaration for 2020, only the wife’s holdings in companies in Cyprus, Belize and Italy appear here.

While Serhiy Shefir, who was assassinated at the end of September 2021, works as Zelenskiy’s political adviser, his brother Borys continues to work as a TV producer. He justified the establishment of the offshore companies by the „Kwartal-95 Group“ from 2012 to journalists with the need to protect assets from bandits, such as then-President Viktor Yanukovych.

According to the Pandora Papers, Sehij Shefir owns two apartments in an expensive part of London, which were bought through one of the offshore companies and are worth a total of around £3.8m. Andriy Yakovlev is said to own an apartment in London worth around £2 million.

Ivan Bakanov, another childhood friend of Zelensky, is said to be part of the network. He initially held „Davegra Limited“, the nominal parent company of „Maltex“, but transferred ownership of this company to Yakovlev in 2019. He is considered the architect of the corporate network, about which Borys Shefir said: „Bakanov was our finance director, he made the financial plans of our company. And to be honest, I’m not ready to answer you right now. Maybe I’m the owner.”

At the request of the journalists of Slidstvo.info, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, who has been in office since March 2020, Iryna Venediktova, refused to comment on the possible involvement of the offshore companies of „Kvartal-95“ in the money laundering scandal involving „PrivatBank“.

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Veröffentlicht von Linda Levante

Architects, nursery schools, schools and so on, 5 Years in Tunis and Maghreb. One Daughter. Someone must change the world. I like Trump. Yes, it's real.

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