Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna party received over $5.5 million from individuals and legal entities ahead of the election, Bihus.info investigative journalism group reports. Some of the donors allegedly have ties with fugitive Ukrainian MP Oleksandr Onyshchenko who is accused of embezzlement, treason, and corruption and is believed to be hiding in Western Europe.
Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna party received over $5.5 million from individuals and legal entities ahead of the election. Photo: courtesy
One of Tymoshenko’s donors is a supermarket cashier Nataliya Zubar from the village of Zavallia in Ukraine’s central Kirovohrad region. She made 10 payments within one year totaling to around $55,000. A neighboring to Zavallia village of Savran in the Odesa region, including Zubar’s relatives and friends who live there, seemed to have generously given away over $180,000 for the needs of presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko’s party.
What’s interesting is that Zubar is not the only person in her family who heavily funded Tymoshenko’s party. According to the investigation, Nataliya’s sister Valentyna made absolutely identical payments to the party, on the same days and totaling to the same amount, while Valentyna’s son Vladyslav made a payment of $44,200 in eight equal installments. When contacted over the phone, Vladyslav said he didn’t want to talk about this, while Nataliya Zubar told the journalists on camera that she gave her credit card to her niece to use.
Zubar also seems to be the owner of two companies with over $1.8 million of capital in each, the investigation reveals. Bihus.info claimed that Zubar’s co-owners of one of the two companies, an insurance firm Nadiyna (Reliable) are co-owners of a company owned by Oleksandr Kantseliaruk. According to the Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office, Kantseliaruk helped Onyshchenko realize his embezzlement scheme.
Onyshchenko — who fled Ukraine in summer 2016 — stands accused of organizing a criminal group to embezzle 1.6 billion hryvnia ($59 million) from government-owned gas producer Ukrgazvybudovannya. Photo: UNIAN
In her video reaction, the woman claimed both of the firms are now closed and that she was even summoned by Ukraine’s Security Service two years ago because of the two companies, likely because of their connection to Onyshchenko.
Another Batkivshchyna donor, Mykhailo Verman, who, according to Bihus.info, transferred nearly $37,000 in 2018, was the owner of the company Art-Elm, which also appeared in the Onyshchenko case. The firm has now ceased its existence but its latest registration address is the same as of those firms belonging to Kantseliaruk.
A lawmaker from Ukraine’s People’s Will parliamentary group, Onyshchenko — who fled Ukraine in summer 2016 — stands accused of organizing a criminal group to embezzle 1.6 billion hryvnia ($59 million) from government-owned gas producer Ukrgazvybudovannya. Kantseliaruk, according to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office, was a key figure in that group. On August 8, 2016, Onyshchenko was added to the national wanted list. In a recent social media conversation with Bihus.info, he denied knowing Kantseliaruk.
When asked by Bihus.info journalists, Tymoshenko denied having any recent contact with Onyshchenko, as well as using fictitious donors in her campaign.
"This could be a provocation on the Ukrainian Security Service's part," she told Bihus.info.
"People help us absolutely sincerely. If sometimes they don't want to talk about it publicly, it could be because it's life-threatening for them. There's no honesty, democracy or justice in Ukraine."
/By Maria Romanenko