Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, pro-Russian billionaires, members of the ruling elite and Ukrainian parliamentarians had fled to the French tourist resort of D’Zours.
Even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, members of the Ukrainian parliament, pro-Russian millionaires fled Ukraine and re-established their networks in France.
Due to Russian rocket attacks on Kiev, Tetzhana Sepyan had to repeatedly postpone the interview. However, a spokeswoman for Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation repeatedly emphasizes that she wants to provide the full range of information. This Ukrainian investigative office can be compared to the American FBI or the German Federal Criminal Police Office.
And this investigation is no less than a blast for Ukraine. At a time when the Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused mass casualties and forced tens of millions of people to move in and out of the country, these media reports are of extraordinary importance that few Ukrainians Billionaires are out of the country with their families. Some of them had fled the country and reached France just before the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.
The beautiful valleys of France and Ukrainian billionaires
At a distance of 1800 km from the most atmospheric and famous tourist region of France, the scenery is amazing. The number of luxury limousine vehicles with Ukrainian number plates is constantly increasing. This scenario is in no way consistent with the dire situation seen in the news and reports of the misery caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but quite the opposite.
Suitcases full of cash
A photo of several suitcases full of cash has been widely shared by a Ukrainian blogger. Among them were $17 million and more than one million euros in additional cash that Hungarian customs officials found in luxury limousine vehicles from Ukraine. They were not presented to Ukrainian customs authorities upon departure from Ukraine. Remember that it is not allowed to carry more than 10,000 Euros in cash while crossing the border.
Investigator Kartetjana Sepian confirmed that her department has been investigating the matter for several months. “People who were checked by the state investigative agency included state and business representatives, former court employees and even members of parliament,” he told DW. It is being investigated whether the men “crossed the border legally and whether they were involved in money laundering.”
More than 80 people have been investigated since mid-September, and a few dozen remain under investigation. At a time when the Ukrainian war is at a critical stage, investigators are devoting themselves to a topic that is deeply painful for Ukraine. This is the subject of corruption in the country. This is the corruption that is embedded in the various groups, networks, key players and other elements in this country and all those involved in corruption have deep connections with Russia.
International Arrest Warrant
International arrest warrants have been issued for two ultra-rich ‘war refugees’ from Ukraine. But investigator Kartetjana Sapian has no hope that he will ever be extradited to Ukraine. “We know that if a person has a lot of money, they will spend some of their money to influence an action,” she says. “Not only in Ukraine, but also abroad.”
Exiled former Ukrainian parliamentarians live in large villas at several luxury tourist destinations in France. According to Salishenko, an expert who has a close eye on corruption issues in Ukraine, some of the exiled former Ukrainian parliamentarians living in France are able to have a lot of influence in the legislation and politics of the country even if they sit far from their homeland.