Investigation of the death of V. Efremov, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Sobor”
Vladimir Efremov, a representative of the Institute of mass information in Dnepropetrovsk and the editor-in-chief of the Dnepropetrovsk newspaper “Sobor”, perished in a road accident. He was driving to Kyiv, when his car bumped into a truck and burnt down. This happened on 14 July 2003. On 13 October 2001 V. Efermov wrote in the newspaper “Golos Ukrainy”: “For the first time during thirty years of my work as a journalist I am writing because I am afraid. I am afraid of a senseless death. Yet, I am afraid even more that my death will be presented as an accidental one: “murder by drug addicts”, “murder for robbery” or “a tragic road accident”.”
His daughter Yulia Efremova affirms that recently her father has been very nervous because of some strange phone calls. About a month ago the investigating officers from the USA came to him in the connection with Lazarenkos case. The officers interrogated him, and he gave the consent to appear in court. On 17 July advocate Marina Dovgopola confirmed in her interview to the agency “Interfax-Ukraine” that P. Lazarenkos advocates really met Vladimir Efremov on the case of the ex-prime-minister. According to her information, this meeting took place during the first visit of the advocate to Ukraine in March-April of the current year. American advocate Harold Rosenthal also confirmed the information about the plans of Efremov to appear in court. In the comment prepared for “Ukrainska Pravda” he called Efremov “one of the central witnesses in this case”. At the request of the IMI, the USA Embassy checked this information through its sources in the American government. According to the information of the embassy, the advocates actually proposed Efremov as a witness, but the court did not agree. The IMI workers conduct the journalists investigation of the death of their colleague. Owing to our efforts the criminal case was started, and the family of the journalist was acknowledged to be victims. The IMI helped to organize the expertise of the remnants of the burnt car, but the results of the expertise are not ready yet. The IMI lawyer Maria Sambur meet a number of people, among them: the mechanic, who examined the car three days before the tragedy, the driver of the truck, in which journalists car bumped, and eye-witnesses of the accident. It appeared that there existed a professional video record of the accident. Now the IMI has this video record, which will be officially passed to the investigation.
Vladimir Efremov worked as a journalist of the Institute of mass information in Dnepropetrovsk for last three years. Before this he was the editor-in-chief of the Dnepropetrovsk newspaper “Sobor” owned by the Dnepropetrovsk oblast council, headed the 11th TV channel, informational agency “Sobor” and the newspaper “Dnepropetrovsk”. In 1999, most probably because of the conflict with some influential political figures, he stayed in custody for several days under the pretext of the allegedly incorrectly registered bank credit, and, little by little, he lost the control over the media business. In May 2001 the newspaper “Sobor” was driven out from the rented building, and in September 2001 the Dnepropetrovsk oblast council took the decision about the liquidation of the newspaper. According to this decision, editor-in-chief V. Efremov had to be dismissed after the liquidation. The procedure of liquidation is not finished yet. In November 2002 Efremov turned to court with the claim against the Dnepropetrovsk oblast council on the payment of wages for the liquidation period. The trial was assigned on 1 September, and, in the opinion of specialists, Efremov had good chances to win the case.
14 July 2003, Institute of mass information, «Barometr svobody slova», July 2003
Vladimir Efremov was the founder and owner of one of the most popular Dnepropetrovsk TV channels “11 kanal”, which was loyal to Pavlo Lazarenko, who was the head of the oblast state administration at that time. During the conflict of Mr. Lazarenko with President Kuchma the TV channel openly took the part of Lazarenko. Yet, when P. Lazarenko escaped to the USA, Viktor Pinchuk, the son-in-law of the President, became interested in this media resource. The TV channel was taken away from Efremov: there was a great scandal accompanied with court proceedings. It is known that the journalist and the oligarch have not come to the agreement until now.
On 14 July the car of Vladimir Efremov collided with a truck, which was driven by Pavlo Pinchuk.
The place of the accident seems to be accursed. People, who worked for Pavlo Lazarenko used to get into accidents there. For example, the car of Mykhaylo Golyshev, the experienced head of Lazarenkos press service both in the oblast and in the Cabinet of Ministers, fall there into ditch for unknown reasons.
As it became known, details of the tragedy will be investigated by Andrey Zinchuk, an officer of the Verkhnedneprovskiy district militia precinct.
(«Ukraina moloda», No. 126, 16 July 2003)