In Ukraine, over the past year and a half, the second tax chief has been judged. The other day in Kiev, they chose a measure of restraint to Miroslav Prodan — the former head of the State Fiscal Service, whom NABU suspects of illegal enrichment.
Like Roman Nasirov, who is under investigation, Prodan has been free already, except that an electronic bracelet on his foot darkens his existence. The court released the penultimate head of the SFS under a personal commitment — although the prosecutors demanded an arrest with the right to go under a super-bail of 89 million UAH, supposing, apparently, that Prodan has such money.
«Strana» listened to the arguments of SAP and found out what the former tax officer actually has — who first disappeared from Ukraine and then unexpectedly returned to his own court. Ukrainian politicians rarely show such courage. Most often, it occurs when they are promised a high patronage.
What is imputed to Prodan and who ultimately defended him from the detention center — the “Strana” found out.
Two apartments, three houses and as many cars
The prosecutors believe that Miroslav Prodan was illegally enriched by 89 million UAH — as we remember, the SAP wanted a pledge of this kind, which the court refused it to do.
The money, says the prosecution, appeared at the ex-official for two years of service in the tax office at various senior positions. At the same time, in declarations the official income of his family for the period 2014-2018 is only four million.
According to prosecutors, for unrecorded money Prodan bought real estate and luxury cars, making out all this property on the approximate people.
In the case appears ex-official’s old pal Maxim Pavitsky. In 2017, he became the owner of an elite home near Kiev, which cost him half a million hryvnias.
The house is located in a closed forest area and hides its owners from prying eyes behind a high green fence. Status of this area is added by its neighbors. Local residents from the opposite «poor» side of the street have long known who lives behind the fence.
“Here are the houses of Lutsenko and Shufrich. Journalists visited them more than once, because of this, law enforcement officers blocked the road. A little further there will be houses of prosecutors, but in general people here live not on one salary”, — one of the residents of the village of Stoyanka, located not far from the capital along the Zhytomyr highway, tells “Strana”.
It is Stoyanka village, where, according to the investigation, Prodan bought a house. Photo made by «Strana»
In addition to this house — almost 450 square meters — on the old pal there are two apartments in the Pechersk district of the capital. They are located in the elite residential complex “French Quarter” and cost almost seven million hryvnias. There is even a smaller copy of the Eiffel Tower.
Prodan’s relative helped him with real estate abroad — in Turkey. In the city of Bodrum, he bought two houses for a total value of UAH 78 million. And, according to the investigation, he bought it for the ex-fiscal, which follows from the telegram’s correspondence. In this messenger, Maxim Pavitsky sent a photo of houses to Miroslav Prodan for approval.
“In the correspondence, Prodan coordinates each step with his trusted Povitsky — which objects to watch, when to fly abroad. These data completely coincide with the data on the border crossing for Maxim Povitsky”, — said the prosecutor of the SAP, Sergey Kozachina, at the trial.
Investigators cite a message dated March 3, 2018, which Povitsky writes to Prodan:
“To begin with, how money can get to Turkey for the purchase of real estate — we make a power of attorney for a lawyer who authorizes him in our interests to purchase early defined real estate. This can be both a hotel and a certain number of apartments inside one complex. Money can be transferred to the lawyer’s account, both by bank transfer and cash. For me, both options are acceptable and will not cost more than 2%. Turkey is convenient because in addition to the lack of questions about the origin of money, they can formalize two contracts of sale to save on official taxes. They are very similar to us in this”, — they quote Kozachin’s Telegram correspondence.
French Quarter, where Prodan allegedly bought two apartments
Interestingly that Povitsky would never have enough money for such a property. Over the past 19 years, he officially earned no more than half a million UAH.
The investigation also has the testimony of a designer who designed the purchased housing. According to her, the work in the mansion on the Zhytomyr highway was managed by the ex-taxman’s wife Lyudmila. Together with her, the designer chose chandeliers, wallpaper, furniture — they could spend several thousand euros for the last one at a time.
A number of purchases by the ex-head of SFS are complemented by three cars — two Toyota Land Cruiser and Mercedes SUVs. According to prosecutors, one of these cars was actively used by the spouse of the former fiscal — in the summer of this year, she went to Toyota from a hotel in the Carpathians.
These cars were issued on two tax officers who had previously worked with Prodan — Maxim Krupsky and Andrey Sazonov. By the way, both were present at the trial in the support group of their former boss and, apparently, guarded him.
All the court hearing, both sat next to the Prodan, holding his outerwear in hand, and during breaks accompanied him to the street, not allowing journalists to ask him questions.
According to the investigation, it was these people who helped Miroslav Prodan to update his fleet — for a total of UAH 3.4 million.
Video made by «Strana»: Miroslav Prodan came to court with security
Note that the lawyers did not comment on all these allegations in essence. They concentrated the line of defense on inaccuracies in the proceedings.
“We analyzed in detail each sheet of the petition for a preventive measure and supplement. I did not see more than one agenda, which is formalized according to the law. Prodan is not suspected of understanding the criminal procedure code. Prodan was actually handed a message of suspicion, which dates from November 15, but personally under his signature — November 30. They threw it under the door, then threw it into the package, then Viber sent him a suspicion, but there is a procedural procedure for delivering a message of suspicion, respectively, the SAP and NABU employees did not adhere to the rules of delivery”, — says lawyer Larisa Krivoruchko.
As we can see, the court heeded the purely technical arguments of the defense — in spite of the substantial evidence base as a matter of fact. And then the court released official, who out of nowhere got the property for tens of millions. So who stood up for Miroslav Prodan?
Why they let Prodan go
The ex-tax official was milled in a large political millstone — he was the victim of a showdown between the teams of the president and the prime minister, supported by the “People’s Front”.
This confrontation broke out in the summer, when a large redistribution of customs flows began. If earlier SBU officers were involved in the fight against smuggling in the customs zone, then, with the suggestion of Vladimir Groysman, the Interior Ministry of Avakov began to crowd them.
The goal to the presidential gates was quickly won back — the SBU, the GPU had long been prepared for the case against Groysman’s man, Miroslav Prodan. A week before the opening of the case in NABU Prodan resigned. After that, he generally found himself abroad — just at the moment when SAP was going to hand the ex-fiscal suspicion.
However, at the end of November Prodan unexpectedly returned. And he boldly appeared at the court, from which he could completely go under arrest.
How to explain such despair? Apparently, there were some agreements between the recently opposing fronts. Seven deputies from the party of the president (although, basically, one way or another connected with Groysman) suddenly expressed a desire to take Prodan out on bail.
It is remarkable, but many servants of the people in the courtroom confessed that they did not personally know Prodan, nevertheless, they fully believe in his innocence.
The ex-official breathed proud optimism.
“I’m not going to run or hide. In this country, my children and my family — this is what keeps me here. For 4 months I was knocking the thresholds of SAP events, at any of their press conferences they have complaints against me. If there are complaints, I will come, and I wrote them inquiries about this. I do not consider myself guilty and have not been afraid of anyone for a long time”, — said Miroslav Prodan.