News Politics Society, 01/03/2018

Kharkiv Land Frauds Get their First Sentence

Last week the founders of the fraudulent housing cooperative at 260 Shevchenko St. in Kharkiv were sentenced to five years in prison with a three-year suspended sentence on probation.

In 2009, the founders of “Peremoga-2000” housing cooperative Volodymyr and Victoria Gyrin and Lydia Shmalko acquired a land plot of 0.1947 hectares according to the infamous cooperative scheme for the construction of residential buildings. The corresponding losses of the state amounted to 486,000 UAH, the verdict states.

According to the Kharkiv Anticorruption center, this is the first case on the cooperative scheme, which was passed to court and incurred the sentence.

“This is a prominent event as for the first time the case of the illegal land acquisition in Kharkiv has been brought to justice in court. The guilty ones have to go to prison, even if the imprisonment is suspended,” said deputy of the regional council and chairman of the Kharkiv Anticorruption center Dmytro Bulakh.

He adds that preliminary hearings on several more cases on the cooperative scheme have started in Kharkiv courts. There is also a pre-trial investigation on the land grabbing against Kharkiv ex-governor and MP Mykhailo Dobkin, the officials of the city council Serhiy Chechelnitsky and Tetiana Ovinnikova.

Reference: Due to the rogue cooperative scheme, Kharkiv city council gave away some land plots for free to a number of newly organized servicing cooperatives to build apartment blocks there “in order to improve the housing conditions of their members.” However, those cooperatives’ members were not eligible for social benefits and got profits bypassing the law. The fraudulent scheme was frequently operated from 2008 to 2016. Within this period, about 1000 hectares of Kharkiv land, including the valuable territory of Lisopark (Ukrainian: “Wooden park”), were given away for elite building.

Text: Olena Sokolynska