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Ukrainian law enforcement has discovered a scheme where local officials and businessmen misappropriated the property and income of the Odesa International Airport.
The scheme caused Hr 2.5 billion ($67 million) damage to the city budget, according to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU).
The investigation revealed that two well-known Odesa businessmen had registered a limited liability company (LTD) in 2011 to establish a joint venture with the Odesa City Council, distributing 75% and 25% of shares, respectively. Their goal was to obtain ownership of the airport's property worth around Hr 118 million ($3 million), the NABU wrote.
According to the Ukrainian media outlet Ukrainska Pravda, citing its sources, the suspects are Borys Kaufman and Oleksandr Borukhovych (Hranovskyi).
A former Odesa mayor reportedly ensured the consent of the city council deputies to create the venture. He also committed a forgery, allowing the controlled LTD to form a joint company with the council, bypassing the competition, reads the report. Sources told Ukrainska Pravda it was Oleksii Kostusiev.
"It is important that the airport's property received for joint use was not subject to privatization, as it was of national importance and ensured the performance of border and customs control functions," the NABU added.
"Moreover, 535 units of fixed assets out of 2,488 transferred were airfield facilities that ensure flight safety and could not be alienated in principle."
Except for Kaufman, Borukhovych, and Kostusiev, the NABU charged the Odesa ex-deputy mayor and the LTD director.
If convicted, they may face up to 12 years of imprisonment with confiscation of property and a ban on holding certain positions.