Destroyed documents hint at Yanukovich's shady deals
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Viktor Yanukovich clearly felt he had something to hide when he fled Kiev. Numerous documents that he attempted to destroy have been found at his residences – and even at first glance, there is plenty of incriminating evidence.
As people roam the park surrounding one of the guest houses on the sprawling grounds of Viktor Yanukovich's estate, inside the house a small team of volunteers is working day and night to save thousands of documents found dumped in a lake nearby. Most relate to financial transactions.
“Not as much things were burned because we think they had no time to burn it, and that's why they put it into the water,” said Inna Brozylo, of the Chesno anti-corruption project. “[We] think maybe the most important agreements between different companies were burned.”
Documents are also spread around the house. For now, it's not about analysing their content but about physically preserving them.
“Here we save the folders that are already worked by us. Every wet paper, we cover it with two new ones,” Brozylo said.
Volunteers say the evidence of wrongdoing fairly leaps off these pages – including apparent payoffs made to security service workers.
“These documents are evidence that they were additionally financed by the president and his companies in cash," said Chesno’s Tetyana Peklun, adding that the bribes were made not in Ukrainian hryvnias but in US dollars, which is strictly prohibited.
Even professional anti-corruption campaigners are struggling to digest what they've found. The papers reveal the astronomical sums the president spent on his various homes – in a country where the average monthly salary is €300 – but also hint at largescale money laundering.
“All [the] gossip, all [the] assumptions about Yanukovich, the amount of his corruption, are being proved,” Brozylo said. “A lot of activists at the Euromaidan think that death is a very easy way for him to go away. He should take all the pain that the people got from him.”
(Report by Gulliver Cragg and Viktor Zavalniuk)