war crimes in Ukraine

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A militiaman arrested the bank account of a TV-radio company

Sergey Bobok, Kharkiv
Major Aleksandr Petrovskiy, a senior detective of the department for fighting with organized crime in Kharkiv region, ordered to arrest the bank account of the TV-radio company Simon. Such things are easily done in Kharkiv.

The major decided to arrest Simon’s bank account to satisfy civil suits of the deceived depositors to quite another organization — the company ‘Quick money’, whose former head Akhsarbek Eloyev is staying now in the preliminary prison.

In early 90s ‘Quick money’ was one of many organizations which attracted deposits of the population by promising high income. Later ‘Quick money’ disappeared, as well as its numerous sister-companies, having left little property and crowds of the deceived depositors who wanted to get back the capital, to say nothing of the income. As all such companies ‘Quick money’ organized an energetic advertisement campaign. The logotype ‘Quick money’ decorated all newspaper kiosks, taxi cabs and bill-boards. The advertisements were steadily printed by local newspapers, they were transmitted by radio and TV channels, including those of Simon. In November 1994 ‘Quick money’ paid to Simon for the translation of advertisements with a radio transmitter. Five years passed and an auditor of the control service found that the transmitter counted on Simon’s balance since 1994 was not counted off the balance of ‘Quick money’. In fact this means that the accountant of ‘Quick money’ was negligent, but the auditor drew a conclusion that the transmitter belongs to ‘Quick money’ and ordered Simon to transfer the cost of the transmitter (3685 grivnas) to the court’s account for satisfying suits of the deceived depositors. The administration of Simon did not agree with the decision of the auditor, but, in order to get rid of extra problems, agreed to pay the money, with one condition: after the solution of the court. As Aleksandr Davtian, the president of Simon, told at the press-conference, he suggested a compromise: till the court decision the transmitter should be arrested and stored in Simon. The detective seemingly agreed, but on 17 June the bank account with about 18 thousand grivnas on it was arrested without advising the owners.

Major Aleksandr Petrovskiy declared to the journalists of Simon TV channel the following: ‘Depositors of ‘Quick money’ were picketing the regional administration. Diomin (the chairman of the administration — author’s note) summoned Storozhenko (his deputy in charge of law-enforcing structures — author’s note). Storozhenko turned to us. We presented him a list of debtors; in particular, the list mentioned you. We shall take this money from you’. This speech was filmed and, properly commented, shown on TV. Sergey Storozhenko commented the material as follows: ‘I categorically disagree both with the detective and with the comments. I do not agree that it is the ‘telephone right’ and not the law which acts in this case. As to Petrovskiy’s words that our actions were stimulated by the demonstration, I must say that no meeting, picketing or demonstration can affect the political line of the region administration. We act in the strict agreement with the law and we shall do all to protect legal rights and interests of Kharkivites. I believe that the actions of the militia are quite right’. All his words sounded very smoothly, but the end of his statement seemed doubtful: ‘If a company does not care about its image, if it does not sympathize with citizens who were victims of a crime, then we do not need such a TV company. If you say that the company can die, then maybe it will be right’.

Whether the company dies, the time will show, but it is certainly having problems. ‘The work of Simon is paralyzed’, Lev Koksharov, the general producer of the Simon TV channel, said. — ‘I do not speak about salaries — the collective will work without salaries for six months or more. But we have difficulties in the production of further series of soap operas, purchasing films, paying to partners. We cannot pay for the translation, for renting transmitters and offices. We are a big advertisement agency, we cooperate with various organizations and with other TV channels. Now we must pay the fines. It seems that someone wants to drive us into the corner, where we shall not be able to pay taxes in time. I think that it is not the direct pressure, but it is connected in some way with politics.’ By Koksharov’s words Simon planned a number of features about all pretenders to the presidential position, and we directed letters to the pretenders, asking them to take part in these transmissions. For example, we have already transmitted a number of features about Evgeniy Marchuk. ‘The transmission about Moroz was prohibited,’ — Davtian said to journalists. — ‘If I tell by whom, the company will be closed tomorrow. Our TV company is unbiased, we turned to all pretenders. We believe that mass media must show all pretenders fairly, so that people would know for whom to vote’.

The management of Simon directed the complaint to the region prosecutor and intends to suit the detective. TV viewers from Kharkiv, three more regions of East Ukraine and Belgorod region of Russia (they are the regions that receive Simon) will know what will come of it.

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