20:45 29.08.2023

Five people suspected of illegal seizure of Odesa airport's property – NABU and SAPO

3 min read

 The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) exposed a criminal group that seized the property of the municipal enterprise Odesa International Airport worth UAH 118 million and income from its activities in the amount of more than UAH 2.5 billion during 2012-2022.

The NABU press center said on Tuesday that they were notified of suspicion: two Odesa businessmen co-organizers of the scheme under Part 3 of Article 27, Part 5 of Article 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (appropriation, embezzlement or seizure of property through abuse of office), the former mayor of Odesa under Part 5 of Article 191, Part 2 of Article 366 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (official forgery), the former acting Deputy Mayor of Odesa under Part 5 of Article 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, the director of a limited liability company - Part 5 of Article 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (appropriation, embezzlement or possession of property by abuse of official position).

As the investigation established, in 2011, two well-known Odesa businessmen organized a scheme to seize the property of Odesa International Airport. To do this, a limited liability company (LLC) was registered, which was supposed to establish a joint company with the Odesa City Council, with the distribution of shares of 75% and 25%, respectively. This LLC was supposed to acquire ownership and further privatize the property complex of the airport worth about UAH 118 million.

Obtaining the consent of the deputies of the City Council for the creation of the company was ensured by the then mayor, talking about the alleged plans of the co-founder to invest in the airport's development. In addition, the official committed an official forgery, which provided the controlled LLC with the right to form a joint company with the Odesa City Council, bypassing the competition.

NABU said that the airport's property received for joint use was not subject to privatization, since it was of national importance and ensured the fulfillment of the functions of border and customs control.

In addition, under the agreement, investors were obliged to contribute UAH 355 million to the authorized capital, to build a new terminal and a runway. However, due to the actions of the participants in the scheme, most of the funds deposited became the subject of collateral and were blocked by the bank. The new terminal was built with a loan secured by the airport's property complex, and the runway was not started at all.

The post of mayor of Odesa in the period 2011-2014 was held by Oleksiy Kostusev.

The issue of choosing a custody status for the suspects is being decided.