Today I have a somewhat complicated story involving Ukrainian corruption in the arena of oil and gas. White-collar crimes are tricky to describe, especially for one not fluent in the language even of legitimate business. My starting point is this piece in PolitNavigator, written by Alexander Rostovtsev. The headline states that the “Americans” are turning on their own man, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. “Americans” are leaking some of his short-play grifts (but not necessarily his longer plays). By “Americans” Rostovtsev has in mind “Radio Svoboda” (“Radio Freedom”) which is the American government-sponsored propaganda outfit servicing the post-Soviet space. Normally, like Tammy Wynette, the American government would stand by their man. But in this case, the “man” is such an egregious crook and so out of control, that he he cannot even do subtlety any more. He steals right and left, both paws operating mechanically like a thieving automaton. Rostovtsev even compares Petro to a gutted shark tossed overboard and ravenously consuming his own guts! And the conclusion is that the American government are sending a signal to this gutted shark: “Tone it down, boy!”
In the past, Poroshenko was a very clever Wise Guy who stole lots of money for many years, totally getting away with it. He knows every trick in the white-collar criminal’s book. Like any good mobster he knew how to build shell companies, front companies, put connected people on the payroll and keep his own hands clean while raking in the loot. But then his greatest misfortune happened: After the junta, he became President. This gave him ever more opportounities to steal other people’s money, but also put him in the spotlight. And now these intrepid anti-corruptioners at Radio Svoboda, whose project operates under the handy name “Schemes”, apparently found and published some stuff implicating him in still another small-potatoes scheme. The point of the leaks being, again, as a warning to him. Perhaps.
Anyhow, before I get to Rostovtsev’s accusations, here is some English-language backstory, to make it all clearer. This involves a gas field in the Poltava district of Ukraine, going under the hilarious Soviet-era toponym Svistunskovsko-Krasnolutskoe (Ukrainian Svystunkivske-Chervonolutske) field. According to Rostovtsev, Soviet geologists were aware of this field, but didn’t bother working it, as it was relatively small, and they had bigger fish to fry at the time. So to speak. In contemporary Ukraine, however, even a small and relatively poor field such as this, is considered a goldmine. So to speak.
In the early 1990’s this field was acquired by the Ukrainian state Oil and Gas monopoly Ukrnafta. In the English-language piece that I just linked, we learn that Ukrnafta is currently filing a suit against a company called Arkona Gas-Energy: “Ukrnafta draws attention of the GPO [General Prosecutor’s Office] to the fact that license #4830 of 18 May 2017 was awarded to Arkona without a public auction.”
As we shall see, Arkona is a private company alleged to be in the capacious pockets (through several degrees of prudent separation) of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. How Petro set up this shell company to steal oil and gas from the Ukrainian people, is described in more detail below…
[to be continued]