18.09.18 16:21

Court issues arrest warrant for Kuchma's former bodyguard Melnychenko, seizes his Ukraine-based property

At the behest of Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office (PGO), Kyiv's Pechersky district court on Sept. 10, 2018 sanctioned the arrest of ex-Major Mykola Melnychenko, a former officer of the State Security Department involved in the so-called "Cassette Scandal" aka Tapegate from 2000.

Court issues arrest warrant for Kuchma's former bodyguard Melnychenko, seizes his Ukraine-based property

 As reported by Censor.NET citing Interfax-Ukraine, the court order also permits the attachment of Melnychenko's property and bank accounts in criminal case No. 42015000000001762 from Aug. 9, 2015.

Melnychenko is suspected of committing high treason by means of espionage, divulging state secrets and money laundering, acts punishable under part 1 of article 111, part 2 of article 328, part 3 of article 365 and part 2 of article 209 of Ukraine's Criminal Code.

The pretrial investigation established that Melnychenko and his accomplice have been using bogus companies to launder money from 2006 until present.

Funds were transferred from the accounts of Batler LLC, Novikom Group LLC, Ukrainian Internet Technologies LLC and the American Traditional Express Van Lines, Inc. during 2006 to 2013 to Melnychenko's accounts in cash as reimbursement for financial assistance. These funds were received in cash using credit cards in ATM machines at various locations, including in the United States and in Ukraine.

Persons interviewed as witnesses and co-owners of Novikom Group LLC said the enterprise was registered by third persons at Melnychenko's request without the aim of conducting financial-business operations. Melnychenko used the accounts of individuals and businesses to convert transferred funds into cash, including the hryvnia account of Novikom Group, which was opened on Nov. 27, 2013 in the public joint-stock association Commercial Bank Standart.

The court arrested funds in Standart Bank and authorized the seizure or prohibited the use of funds on Melnychenko's foreign currency and hryvnia accounts in PrivatBank, Batler LLC and Novikom Group LLC in PrivatBank, as well as the accounts of one more person appearing in the case in PrivatBank.

In addition, the court's decision indicates that one of the witnesses reported "receiving about $2 million from Melnychenko from the United States. The money was kept in a safe in Kyiv. In September 2006, through proxies, Melnychenko purchased an apartment for $800,000. In January 2013, another apartment was purchased, first in the name of his father, and then in the name of the director of Ukrainian Internet Technologies LLC. In October 2013, residential houses and two land plots were purchased, in the names of Melnychenko's godson and confidant. The court also arrested these properties.

The court also arrested two Lexus and a Toyota used by Melnychenko's wife, three DAF FT XF105 tractors, two semi-trailers, a semi-trailer and an on-board semitrailer that were purchased by the suspect from 2006 to 2013.

On Nov. 18, 2016, Melnychenko was served charge papers. On Nov. 25, 2016, he was put on the wanted list. A request for international legal assistance was sent to the United States on February 22, 2017 to establish Melnychenko's whereabouts. On April 14, 2017, Melnychenko case files were sent to the Ukrainian Bureau of Interpol in order to put him on the international wanted list.

The court's decision stated that on April 11, 2018, the Counterintelligence Department of Ukraine's SBU Security Service provided information about the actual residence of Melnychenko and his wife.

On May 16, 2018, the pretrial investigation body, in connection with the expiration of the Pechersky district court's ruling of Nov. 29, 2016, sought an extension of permission to detain Melnychenko.

On May 16, 2018, the court granted the petition and established its validity until Nov. 16, 2018, the period of pretrial investigation.

The pretrial investigation found that from February to September 2000 Melnychenko, acting as an official, intentionally and at the expense of Ukraine's national security in the sphere of external relations, deliberately collected for the purpose of transfer the information that constituted a state secret contained in the recorded conversations between Ukraine's ex-President Leonid Kuchma and the top-level government officials and political figures. From 2002 to 2004, Melnychenko gave copies of the recordings to representatives of foreign organizations in exchange for money, which Melnychenko later used to buy real estate, vehicles and other property, both in the territory of the United States of America and in Ukraine.

← Back to the section