19:13 19.06.2017

Agreeing to plea arrangement with prosecutors, Odesa Oil Refinery deputy head gets suspended five-year jail term

Having agreed to a plea arrangement with prosecutors in the so-called "Kurchenko case," deputy head of PJSC Odesa Oil Refinery Dmytro Veremeyev has received a five-year jail sentence with a one-year test term.

Head of Odesa region's Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) Oleh Zhuchenko said during a briefing on Monday that Veremeyev testified to prosecutors about the "Kurchenko case," providing information about the location of various documents needed for the investigation and about the role played by suspects in the case. Under the arrangement, Veremeyev must remunerate UAH 2 billion in losses incurred by the government.

Regarding confiscation ordered by the Suvorivsky District Court of Odesa of property at the Odesa Oil Refinery, Zhuchenko said equipment worth $200 million, including a construction pit measuring 38,000 square meters and 77 hectares of land was returned to state ownership.

Zhuchenko also said the court's decision ordered the confiscation of the property belonging to the refinery as well as property belonging to LLC Gas and Energy of Ukraine.

The refinery thus is fully ready to resume operations.

The rights to the confiscated properties are registered to Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers.

In addition, the prosecutor said there is a possibility to appeal the decision, although this will be very difficult. He said the decision involving the refinery's property cannot be appealed by civil courts because the refinery in this instance is classified as the means for committing a crime.

Zhuchenko said the next step in investigating the case involves returning oil products to the state. They were stored at the enterprise until the end of 2014. The portion of the crude oil that cannot be returned will be compensated for.

As earlier reported, the district court of Odesa has decided to apply special confiscation to the property of Odesa Oil Refinery that belonged to VETEK Group of Serhiy Kurchenko.

The Russian LUKOIL company had acquired two 25.95% blocks of stock of open joint-stock company Odesa Oil Refinery in non-commercial auctions in 1999 for UAH 27.27 million before increasing their share to 97%.

Kurchenko's VETEK in 2013 bought LUKOIL's stake in the refinery. Kurchenko is currently wanted by Ukrainian law-enforcement agencies. It was later reported that VETEK transferred ownership of the refinery to Russia's Bank VTB. Regular operations at the refinery were not restored. The refinery is currently idle.

Odesa regional prosecutors together with police and Odesa region's SBU Security Service agents served notice of suspicion to 16 individuals suspected of involvement of criminal deals with oil products as per the so-called "Kurchenko scheme." Several suspects have already been arraigned and sentenced.

The former deputy general director of the Odesa Oil Refinery was arrested as per a motion filed by Odesa prosecutors on April 22, 2017.

The refinery was shut down for reconstruction in August 2005 and resumed work only in April 2008. However, in October 2010 the refinery again was shut down in connection with the economic situation with oil products on Ukraine's market, as well as due to a change in the scheme of crude oil shipments.

The estimated oil refining capacity of the enterprise is 2.8 million tonnes annually.


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