The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) searched one of the biggest investment companies in Ukraine, Dragon Capital, because of the alleged use of illegal software on Wednesday April 26th.
“The SBU was looking for the software, which Dragon Capital officially bought from the Ukrainian company - a сopyright holder of this software - in 2015, and planned to use it for work time control. As we were told, in 2016 this software was classified as a ‘special tool for secret information uptake’, based on expertise…” wrote the official Dragon Capital news service.
This is the third time the company has experienced this kind of pressure in its 20 year existence, says the CEO of Dragon Capital, Tomas Fiala.
At first, he was told that the SBU agents wanted to confiscate all the machines from the office, but after the situation went public, the SBU agreed to confiscate only 3 computers allegedly equipped with the ‘doubtful’ software, according to the law enforcement officials.
Tomas Fiala, CEO of Dragon Capital
"I don’t expect further action from the SBU. I think that a fight with a legal and clean business, aiming to attract foreign investments to Ukraine, is neither in the interest of the SBU, nor for law-enforcement authorities, nor the politicians, whose names carry the parties that were our opponents in the Sky Mall case. It’s also not in the best interests of the country,” said Mr. Fiala.
Meanwhile, Vitaliy Sych, the editor-in-chief of ‘Novoe Vremya’ (New Time) magazine, which is among investment company’s assets, said that the illegal software could just be an excuse to search the company.
“The real reason for the search, in my opinion, is the conflict between the CEO of ‘Dragon Capital’, Tomas Fiala (he’s also the president of European Business Association), and the Kononenko-Hranovskiy-Adamovsky coalition” he wrote on Facebook.
The Russian businessman operating in Ukraine and Russia, Andrey Adamovsky, is a co-owner of the Oledo group. He owns half the shares for the Sky Mall shopping centre, one of the largest of its kind in Kyiv.
SkyMall is one of the biggest shopping centres in Kyiv. Photo: Wikimapia
Sych recalls that a few years ago, Tomas Fiala and his Estonian partner, Teder, won a case in a London court against Adamovsky, the “partner and friend of an MP from the president’s party ‘Petro Poroshenko Bloc’, Oleksandr Hranovskiy”. According to the court’s decision, Adamovsky had to hand over his shares in Sky Mall to Fiala and his partner for a predetermined price. However, Adamovsky refused.
“Adamovsky and Co. do not recognise the London court’s decision. Since then, Fiala has experienced regular problems with the police and tax authorities. The Estonian president even raised the matter during his visit to Kyiv, but nothing has come of it,” says Sych.
Adamovsky has refused to sell his shares, and overall, has deprived Hillar Teder and Dragon Capital their shares of the business.
Dragon Capital is one of the biggest investment companies in Ukraine. The company was founded in 2000 in Kyiv by an emigrant from the Czech investment company, Wood & Co, Tomas Fiala, who now has control of the company. Among the investment company’s assets is the Media-DK company which publishes the ‘Novoye Vremya’ magazine and website. He is also the president of the European Business Association and is considered one of the most influential investment bankers in Ukraine.