16:10 20.12.2019

Swiss Attorney General's Office files indictment against ex-MP Martynenko for money laundering

3 min read
Swiss Attorney General's Office files indictment against ex-MP Martynenko for money laundering

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has filed an indictment to the Federal Criminal Court against former Ukrainian parliamentarian of five convocations Mykola Martynenko and a second Ukrainian national. They are accused as part of a criminal group of having laundered around EUR 2.8 million through the Swiss financial system under aggravated circumstances.

"The indictment alleges that, as part of a criminal group, the accused thwarted the seizure of feloniously obtained assets amounting to around EUR 2.8 million by using the funds held in Swiss bank accounts to make purchases and investments in Switzerland and abroad," reads a statement posted in the website of the OAG on Friday.

The OAG stated that Martynenko is alleged to have arranged for these accounts to be opened in preparation for the money laundering offence. He first instructed his co-accused to set up an offshore company in the Republic of Panama. Various Panamanian nationals acted as directors of the company, but they immediately appointed Martynenko's co-accused as its authorized representative. As instructed by Martynenko, he then proceeded to open bank accounts in Switzerland on behalf of the offshore company, naming Martynenko on the Form A as the beneficial owner of the assets subsequently deposited.

According to the OAG, the assets that were obtained thereafter are suspected to have originated from offences committed in Ukraine and the Czech Republic. These alleged offences are currently the subject of criminal investigations by the Ukrainian and Czech authorities. In brief, it is suspected that commission payments were unlawfully made by Skoda JS, a Czech supplier of components for nuclear power stations. Skoda JS is believed to have paid the commission into the bank accounts previously opened in Switzerland by Martynenko's offshore company in return for the award of contracts to supply components to National Nuclear Generating Company Energoatom, the state operator of nuclear power stations in Ukraine.

The OAG underlined that it would have been impossible to have brought the indictment without excellent cooperation from the Ukrainian and Czech prosecution authorities. In the course of the investigation launched by the OAG in 2013, the OAG, Ukraine and the Czech Republic have all requested each other for mutual assistance. In particular, when the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) began operations and launched its own investigations, the OAG has obtained the information required to bring the indictment through mutual assistance procedures.

As reported, on May 22, 2018, the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) sent an indictment to court on charges against former parliamentarian Mykola Martynenko, as well as Serhiy Pereloma, Ruslan Zhurylo, Oleksandr Sorokin, Volodymyr Bohdanets and Valeriy Vasylkov within the case on embezzlement of funds of the state enterprises VostGOK and Energoatom. They are charged with committing crimes under Part 5 of Article 191 (seizing someone else's property through abuse of official position), Part 3 of Article 209 (money laundering), and Part 1 of Article 255 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (creating a criminal organization).

Martynenko and Vasylkov are charged with having appropriated Energoatom's funds while concluding and fulfilling contracts on equipment supplies with Skoda JS, as well as concluding and fulfilling a contract worth EUR 6.4 million between Skoda JS and Bradcrest Investments SA.

In addition, Martynenko, Pereloma, Zhurylo, Sorokin and Bohdanets are charged with having appropriated funds of VostGOK in the amount of $17.28 million through the unlawful conclusion and fulfillment of a contract to sell uranium concentrate of VostGOK via Austria's intermediary Steuermann Investitions- und Handelsgesellschaft mbH, which is under control of the members of the criminal group.

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