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Investigative Stories from Ukraine: Estonia’s biggest Ukraine charity in trouble over suspected misuse of funds

by Anna Myroniuk April 18, 2023 9:15 PM 5 min read
Johanna-Maria Lehtme, head of Glory To Ukraine charity (in the middle), and Hennadiy Vaskiv, head of All For Victory (to her left), deliver aid to soldiers on Feb. 15, 2023. (Hennadiy Vaskiv via Facebook)
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The Kyiv Independent’s exclusive

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Estonia’s biggest Ukraine charity conducts audit after board finds Ukrainian recipients suspicious

Glory to Ukraine, Estonia’s largest aid organization focused on helping Ukraine, announced an audit following allegations of Ukrainian partners pocketing donations.

The Kyiv Independent and Delfi Estonia identified the two recipients, which are connected to each other and do not publicly report on how they spend the donated funds, something Ukrainian charities normally do.

One of these entities is All For Victory, a charity operated by former Lviv deputy mayor Hennadiy Vaskiv. The other one is IC Construction, a company run by Vaskiv’s friend and former colleague at the mayor’s office, Roman Panasiuk. It’s officially owned by a manicurist allegedly working at the beauty salon of Vaskiv’s wife.

The company has received 1.5 million euros, about a quarter of all donations from Glory to Ukraine, according to people familiar with the case.

Panasiuk, the director of IC Construction, confirmed that the funds were received but denied that they were misused.

Read the full story via the link.

Top investigative stories

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Ukrainska Pravda finds Ukrainian elites’ real estate in Courchevel, spots wanted oligarch on slopes

Ukrainian moguls own luxurious villas in the Courchevel ski resort in France and kept using them after Russia invaded, according to Ukrainska Pravda.

Larisa Chertok, the sister of oligarch Igor Kolomoisky reportedly owns a chalet named Panda at the highest and most expensive part of Courchevel. Journalists noticed Larisa and her husband, Volodymyr Chertok, in the villa during the Christmas season. Kolomoisky’s son Hryhoriy stayed in the chalet at least twice in January and March, according to Ukrainska Pravda.

Kolomoisky has been sanctioned and is under investigation by the U.S. He may have been stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship last summer.

Andriy Verevskyi, an agricultural businessman and Forbes 2022’s 16th richest Ukrainian, owns a chalet named Alexandra right near Kolomoisky’s property. Just before Christmas, Ukrainska Pravda saw Verevskyi’s Mercedes-Benz parked in front of the chalet. Verevskyi’s son arrived shortly after.

On Courchevel slopes, Ukrainska Pravda also spotted fugitive businessman and politician Oleksandr Onyshchenko, who fled Ukraine in 2016. At home, he is wanted by anti-corruption investigators for allegedly masterminding a $125-million fraud scheme in the country’s natural gas sector.

Watch the full video in the Ukrainian language via the link.

Bihus.Info: Pro-Russian lawmaker lives in undeclared mansion, his relatives bought luxury cars during war

Suto Mamoyan, a lawmaker from the banned party Opposition Platform, lives in a huge mansion without declaring it, as he’s legally required to do, Bihus.Info investigative media outlet found. Last year, Mamoyan’s relatives bought 13 cars for a total of $1.3 million.

On paper, Mamoyan’s parents own a 1.3 hectare plot of land with two garden houses, with areas of 110 and 270 square meters on the left bank in Kyiv.

Bihus.Info revealed that the houses are, in fact, much bigger than that and the property also fits a guest house, a two-story guard house, a gazebo, garages for a dozen cars, and a fountain.

According to his latest asset declaration filed in 2021, Mamoyan lived in his uncle’s apartment in Kyiv and owned two 125-square-meter apartments, both gifted by his mother.

Bihus.Info reported that in 2022, Mamoyan’s family members bought four Toyota Land Cruiser 300s for about $90,000 apiece, four Toyota Camrys from $31,000 to $37,000 each, a Lexus LX500d worth at least $133,000, and other personal vehicles for a total of $1.3 million.

The lawmaker officially declared income for his family wouldn’t have allowed them to afford these assets, according to Bihus.Info.

Watch the full story in the Ukrainian language via the link.

RFE/RL: Teenager caught trying to escape Russia was taken there almost a year ago for two-month ‘vacation’

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalists obtained a document proving that Bohdan Yermokhin, a 17-year-old orphan from Mariupol, who made headlines trying to escape Russia in early April, was taken there almost a year ago under the pretext of a two-month vacation.

Yermokhin was reportedly taken from his hometown of Mariupol to occupied Donetsk, then transported to Russia.

According to a document from the Russian proxies obtained by RFE/RL, Yermokhin and other children were taken to Polyany sanatorium near Moscow for two months starting from April 27, 2022. The sanatorium is controlled by the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After the “vacation” ended, the kids were supposed to be returned to Donetsk, which never happened. Instead, Yermokhin was adopted in Russia and received a Russian passport.

Some of his friends told RFE/RL that he wasn’t enjoying his stay in Russia and wanted to come to Kyiv.

Russian law enforcement stopped Yermokhin from crossing the border into Belarus as he tried to get back to Ukraine in early April. Yermokhin then appeared on Russian television in a video report that accused Ukraine’s intelligence of orchestrating his “kidnapping.”

Read the full story in Ukrainian via the link.

Pentagon Leak

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Washington Post: U.S. intelligence leak reveals sensitive details about war effort on both sides

Hundreds of pages of leaked American intelligence reports provided a window onto Ukraine’s counteroffensive preparations, U.S. diplomatic pressure to provide weapons to Ukraine and the struggles of Russia’s military intelligence, among many other details.

For example, the documents contained the status of Ukraine’s new assault brigades and how much artillery ammo the military uses on a daily basis. However, there was also information on how the Russian military is struggling to achieve objectives and has been completely compromised by U.S. intelligence agencies.

The classified documents were reportedly leaked to a chat room on the social platform Discord over the span of months. The documents didn’t come in one package, with different people getting their hands on different amounts. The Washington Post claims it obtained 300 pages through the former members of the chat where the documents were first posted.

The documents also showed the U.S.’s pessimistic predictions for the counteroffensive, Ukraine’s approaching shortage of air defense missiles, Russia’s attempts to buy weapons from other countries, the U.S.’s surveillance of foes and allies, and many more.

Officials in the U.S. largely treated the leak as genuine. Ukraine tried to downplay its importance, warning of Russian propaganda. Still, Kyiv changed some of its military plans following the leak, according to a source close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, cited by CNN.

On April 13, FBI arrested a suspect in the leak, 21-year-old Air National Guardsman, Jack Teixeira, a systems specialist with the rank of Airman First Class, who is believed to have used his access to top-secret data to show off to his Discord friends.

Read the full story in English via the link.

Check out the Kyiv Independent’s Pentagon Leak coverage:

Explainer: What we learned from the Pentagon leak and why it matters

Podcast: What US intelligence leak reveals about war in Ukraine

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