NABU declared an "organiser" wanted for fraud of ARMA property. He replied that he found out about it "to his own surprise"

NABU declared an "organiser" wanted for fraud of ARMA property. He replied that he found out about it "to his own surprise" Dovbenko stated that he is ready to cooperate with the investigation
Photo: Andriy Dovbenko / Facebook

On January 3, in Telegram, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) was wanted for involvement in fraud relating to the property of the National Agency for Search and Asset Management (ARMA) owned by law firms’ owner Andriy Dovbenko.

"NABU is looking for the organiser of a criminal group exposed for fraud of arrested property transferred to the management of ARMA. We are talking about the owner of a number of law firms," the report said.

In 2019, Andiy Dovbenko was credited with influencing personnel appointments in the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine and resolving issues, particularly with state registrars in the executive service and the sale of arrested property.

On December 29, 2022, NABU reported that the criminal group's (OZG) organizer was notified with suspicion of absentia since his whereabouts are unknown.

"The total number of established members of both the OZG itself and those involved in committing certain crimes of the OZG is 11 people. Of these, five were reported under suspicion in July 2022, and three more in October," the agency explained.

According to the investigation, in 2017–2018, the OZG organiser proposed to the head of ARMA "to introduce a corruption scheme for the sale of the arrested property" and "developed a plan that provided the establishment of control at all stages: from the moment of transfer of material evidence to ARMA to their sale at an understated cost on a controlled trading platform to controlled companies."

Allegedly, the then head of ARMA accepted the proposal of the organiser of the OZG and "among other things, ensured the adoption of the necessary regulatory framework, which made it possible to create the appearance of legality of manipulations of the seized property in the interests of the OZG."

In particular, the state-owned enterprise "SETAM" appears in the case on the property on which the auction was held.

"In 2019, participants of the OZG [...] successfully implemented a corruption scheme to sell seized property for understated

cost at least four times. [...] According to preliminary estimates, the damage caused in these four instances amounted to UAH 426 million. However, experts clarified the sum estimation, and now it is UAH 485 million," NABU explained.

We are talking about selling three land plots in the Odesa region, 2.6 thousand tons of river sand in the Kyiv region, and more than 4.5 thousand tons of carbamide, grain, cereals and oilseeds.

Andriy Dovbenko commented on the wanted ad on his Facebook page.

"I was surprised to learn from the media that NABU was looking for me. I don't know why but look for me if I'm in touch with the investigation. I live abroad, where I left before the war because I have the right of permanent residence," he wrote.

His lawyer claims that "he did not receive any documents from the investigation" and "does not even nearly" understand what he is being accused of.

"My lawyers have entered official communication with the NABU and are waiting for all documents to be received. I do not plan to hide from the investigation, but I am ready to cooperate and take all actions regarding my protection," Andriy Dovbenko said.