Ukrainian anti-corruption MP amid scandal surrounding his finances

Thu 8 Sep 2016

Ukrainian anti-corruption MP amid scandal surrounding his finances
On the 6th September Member of Ukrainian Parliament Sergii Leshchenko bought an expensive apartment in the center of Kyiv (7,5 mln hryvnyas or 310 000 $, 192 m2), triggering questions of the source of his finances. He claims that criticism of his purchase is being spread due to his anti-corruption activity. Leshchenko published on the 7th September an invitation for the National agency for preventing corruption and National anti-corruption bureau to investigate the purchase of the apartment. Furthermore, he left the management of his party, Democratic Alliance, for the duration of the investigation.

As for the source of the 310 000 $ the politician explains that part of that sum are his savings, another part – his girlfriend’s savings and the third – a 10-year loan from his former colleague Olena Prytula (owner of “Ukrayinska Pravda”). There is a lot of criticism in the media as of the price choice for Leshchenko’s apartment which does not correspond to the income of neither a journalist nor Ukrainian politician.

From the purchase contract posted on Facebook, it appeared that Leshchenko is listed as the only owner of the sum paid. The Bloc of Petro Poroshenko party called commentaries of Leshchenko regarding his purchase unconvincing and triggering more questions. Parliamentarian Pavel Pynzenyk from former Prime Minister Arsenii Yatseniuk’s “Narodnyy Front” party pointed out that it is necessary to establish the origin of the loan for the purchase.

The anti-corruption struggle
Sergii Leshchenko is known for supporting e-declarations, transparency of funds and his struggle against corruption. The position of the media in the current resonance is that anti-corruption line obliges the politician to make more modest purchases for the money earned in an honest and transparent way. While being an investigative journalist himself before, Sergii Leshchenko conducted several anti-corruption inquiries into the life of key state officials and their family members (e.g. son of former President Viktor Yushchenko).

Democratic Alliance
In July 2016 Sergii Leshchenko became a member of a liberal political party, Democratic Alliance, founded in 2010. He was elected for the Ukrainian parliament in 2014 on the list of the party Bloc of Petro Poroshenko. Democratic Alliance stands for European integration of Ukraine and state reforms. One of its main principles is financial transparency. Democratic Alliance particularly specifies that zero tolerance towards corruption is one of the founding principles of state and society. Stopping power abuse, fighting corruption, irresponsibility of state officials and educating about rights protection are the goals of the party. The party chose Christian democracy as its ideology. Democratic Alliance is known for making its funding sources and expenses public. The statutory document of the party obliges its members to follow the requirements of the statute and party’s ethical code.

Sources: Novoye Vremya Ekspres DemAlyans
Photo: Stortinget