On 7th January, Al Jazeera claimed an exclusive on a report that 3 Ukrainian oligarchs traded part of around $1.5 billion in illicit assets traced to cronies of former Ukrainian President Yanukovich. It says that an unsigned contract it has obtained identifies Alexander Onyschenko – the gas tycoon, former member of parliament and currently one of Ukraine’s most wanted men – and Pavel Fuchs, a real estate tycoon who made his fortune in Moscow, as the buyers in the illegal deal. It reports that other documents suggest the seller was Serhiy Kurchenko – a fugitive Ukrainian gas tycoon based in Moscow who was known as Yanukovich’s “family wallet”. The contract obtained by Al Jazeera said Onyschenko and Fuchs paid $30 million, including cash and a private jet, for the Cyprus-based company, Quickpace Limited, which company held $160 million in bonds and cash, which was frozen by a Ukrainian judge as they were suspected of being the proceeds of crime. It says that the scheme involves using a web of offshore companies and international lawyers to raid $160 million under the noses of the authorities, with the money is effectively being stolen for a second time. A claim is that Yanukovich’s “clan” pumped stolen money into companies in Ukraine with bank accounts in Latvia and gradually passed it through dozens of offshore shell companies in Cyprus, Belize, BVI and other money-laundering hotspots including the UK. A series of reports called “The Oligarchs” is to be screened on Al Jazeera, and the article provides the times and dates.
“The Oligarchs” webpage includes links to bios of Pavel Fuchs and Serhiy Kurchenko, and a selection of documents referred to in the reports.