• Topics / Politics and human rights
• Topics / The right to a fair trial
Another minister in Tymoshenko’s government imprisoned
Georgy Filipchuk, former Environment Minister in Yulia Tymoshenko’s government has been sentenced to three years imprisonment for “abuse of power and official position” in concluding an agreement with a law firm over the dispute concerning Vanco International Ltd.
According to Mr Filipchuk’s lawyer, Mykola Shupen, the Solomensky District Court in Kyiv with Judge Volodymyr Melnyk found his client guilty under Article 365 § 3 of the Criminal Code and changed the restraint measure from a signed undertaking not to abscond to remand in custody.
Mr Filipchuk is supposed to have exceeded his power and official position over the contract with the law firm Astapov Lawyers which agreed to provide the Environment Ministry with consultation in examining the dispute in international legal institutes. The dispute was over the dissolution of a contract between the Ukrainian government and Vanco International Ltd on developing the Black Sea Shelf.
Mr Filipchuk’s lawyer calls the ruling absurd and says that it will be appealed. He says that they presented ample proof that Filipchuk’s actions had fallen within the framework of existing legislation. He said that his client had carried out instructions from the Cabinet of Ministers, and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko herself.
The criminal proceedings against Filipchuk were initiated on 13 December 2010. The Environment Ministry gave Vanco Prykerchenska a licence in December 2007 for a geological survey, experimental-industrial and industrial mining of oil, gas and gas condensate in the area around Kerch. Later the Ministry found a number of infringements of legislation during the tender and by Vanco itself. In April and May 2008 the government cancelled Vanco Prykerchensa’s licence.
Equal shares in Vanco Prykerchenska are held by Vanco International; DTEK Holdings Limited of the billionaire Party of the Regions MP Rinat Akhmetov and Shadowlights Investments Limited owned by the Russian businessman Yevgeny Novitsky, as well as by Integrum Technologies Limited.