Whilst Ukrainian social media and news outlets are seething with discussions of the corrupt adventures of Andryi Yermak, a Head of the Office of the President, whose brother traded public posts, Volodymyr Zelenskyi is trying to feign Olympian calm. To all the questions, he responds, like, let the State Bureau of Investigations take care of this. And it will definitely figure out whether there are corrupt people in the president’s inner circle or this is vilification by political enemies. Thus, it would be a good idea to find out what’s currently going on at the SBI, which has been operating without a director since December of 2019, and whose work now is stifled due to drastic staff cuts and constant turnover in leadership.
Albeit, there are islands of stability at the SBI. On March 26, 2020 the State Bureau of Investigations ended accepting applications for a contest for leadership positions. However, results of the future contest are already known, and we will gladly tell about the winners, those who will lead the investigations of the cases of corruption in the Office of the President.
The ballots in the future contest are being counted by Oleksandr Babikov, a First Deputy Director of the SBI and a true multitasker. Oleksandr Petrovych not only manages the SBI together with Oleksandr Sokolov, but also works as a leading strategist at the Prosecutor General’s Office and is currently working on a draft of a new structure of the PGO, its staffing table etc. It is even more admirable given that in prosecutors’ circles, no one has ever said a nice thing about Babikov’s mental capacities. But things are different now, and compared to those talents remaining in law enforcement agencies, even Babikov almost looks like an intellectual.
So, it has been decided that the contest for the position of the Head of the Main Investigations Department of the SBI will be won, by total chance, by Maksym Borysovych Borchakovskyi, who currently holds a position of a Head of the First Investigations Department of the Third Office of Pre-Trial Investigations. It is Borchakovskyi who will take care of people on “Yermak tapes” and will reach a verdict whether actions by the Head of the Office of the President were indicative of crime.
Maksym Borysovych’s luck has turned for the better not only due to his phenomenal spinelessness, servility, and ability to execute any superior orders, but also considering that it is him who is a head of the committee on selection of operatives and soon enough will select Igor Oleksandrovych Geida a Head of the Main Operative Office of the SBI, and Igor Oleksandrovych Kalinko as Geida’s deputy.
Both Geida and Kalinko served together in the Kharkiv Regional SSU Department. However, Geida used to head the Kharkiv Regional Territorial Division of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine, as well as wear the police badge. Moreover, it was him who in February of 2014 secretly transported to Russia Vitaliy Zakharchenko, a Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, and Oleksandr Tulayev, a Head of the Internal Security Department of the MIA of Ukraine. Here’s what happened.
Igor Oleksandrovych Geida had been serving at the SSU since 1996. In 2009, he became a Deputy Head of the Main Department of Counterintelligence Protection of the National Economy of the SSU in Kharkiv Region. But in 2010, he was fired citing “personal unsuitability.” However, in 2012 Tulayev, a godfather of his child, who was a Head of the Internal Security Department of the MIA of Ukraine, recruited Geida and appointed him a Head of the Internal Security Office in Kharkiv Region. Details of the exciting life of the future Head of the Main Operative Office of the SBI are laid out in materials of the criminal proceeding transferred from the former Office of Special Investigations of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine. The details are so graphic that they are worth a lengthy quotation:
“Order 1198-о/с of the Head of the SSU of 09.15.2010 imposed a disciplinary sanction on Colonel Geida, I.O., in the form of dismissal from military service citing personal unsuitability. Further, Colonel Geida, I.O., was dismissed from military service citing personal unsuitability by Order 1259-о/с of the Head of the SSU of 09.30.2010. On 10.12.2010, Colonel Geida, I.O., was removed from the lists of SSU staff by Order 241-о/с of the Department of the SSU in Kharkiv Region. Geida, I.O., was fired on the grounds of fabricating the materials, namely for committing crimes and abusing power and authority during 2008-2010. In particular, Geida, I.O., committed a crime with the aim of facilitating third parties, namely General Fainytskyi, E.Y., a Head of the First Division of the Investigations Office of the SSU, to seize two foreign automobiles, a Lexux GX 470 (belonging to his wife, Fainytska, A.V.) and a Mercedes-Benz S300, from Yagodyn Customs and bring them to Kharkiv for subsequent transfer to interested parties. This fact took place in 2008.
“Materials regarding initiating criminal cases against Colonel Geida for abusing power or authority by a military officer as well as forgery, i.e. committing crimes under Articles 423, 424, and 366 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, were sent for initiating criminal cases and subsequent investigation to the Military Prosecutor’s Office of the Kharkiv Garrison.
“In 2010, when a new President of Ukraine and a new Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine came to power, and Tulayev, a godfather of Geida’s child, was appointed a Head of the Internal Security Department of the Tax Service of Ukraine, on 06.10.2010, the Military Prosecutor’s Office of the Kharkiv Garrison declined to initiate criminal cases against Geida, I.O., regarding abusing power or authority by a military officer as well as forgery, i.e. committing crimes under Articles 423, 424, and 366 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, citing Paragraph 2 of Article 6 of the Criminal Proceedings Code of Ukraine.
“According to information received from the internal security officers of the State Security Office, from February 21 to February 25, 2014, then officers of the Internal Security Office of the Main Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in Kharkiv Region (Colonel Geida, I.O., then Head of ISO of the MO of the MIA of Ukraine in Kharkiv Region, who led the operation, Major Sokolov, O.O., who directly supervised the operation, officers Kramarenko, A., Tsekhmistrov, D., Kalinko, I., Zherebtsov, D., Kozlenko, S., and two unidentified police officers) transported Zakharchenko, V.Y., the then Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, and Tulayev, O.S., the Head of the Internal Security Department of the MIA of Ukraine, together with their families, to the territory of the Russian Federation through the Hoptivka checkpoint of the Kharkiv Border Guard Detachment of the Eastern Regional Directorate of the State Border Service of Ukraine.
“According to internal security of the SSO, the operation was carried out in the following manner.
“Cars with Zakharchenko, V.Y., and family, and with Tulayev, O.S., and family were met at the border between Poltava and Kharkiv Regions by the following officers of the ISO of the MO of the MIA of Ukraine in Kharkiv Region: Major Sokolov, O.O. (in his own Lexus car, which he sold immediately following the operation), Kramarenko, A. (in his own Mitsubishi Pajero car), Tsekhmistrov, D., Kalinko, I., Zherebtsov, D., Kozlenko, S., and two unidentified police officers. All of them were armed with service guns (using data received, this can be verified by records of arms distribution).
“The convoy immediately proceeded to the Hoptivka checkpoint, where the above people were taken across the border on foot (allegedly they were wearing balaclavas) through the freight corridor of the checkpoint. According to unverified information, it was during passing the border by Zakharchenko, V.Y., and Tulayev, O.S., that surveillance cameras at the checkpoint hadn’t been working for 2 hours.
“On the territory of the Russian Federation, Zakharchenko, V.Y., and Tulayev, O.S., were met by friends of Geida, I.O. (who admittedly studied at the same military school).
“The day after transporting mentioned people, following orders of Geida, I.O., Sokolov, O.O., together with above officers of the ISO of the MO of the MIA of Ukraine in Kharkiv Region, escorted and transported six trucks with personal possessions of Zakharchenko, V.Y., and Tulayev, O.S., across the state border of Ukraine at the Pletenivka checkpoint of the Kharkiv Border Guard Detachment of the Eastern Regional Directorate of the State Border Service of Ukraine. This operation was organized by Harmash, V.P., a then Head of the Vovchansk District Office of the Main Office of the MIA of Ukraine in Kharkiv Region.”
Also, Borchakovsky will, by total chance, select Geida’s subordinates—heads of offices within the Main Operative Office of the SBI. Namely, Oleksandr Kozlenko from Kharkiv will become a Head of the Office of Operational Support of Investigating Criminal Offences Committed by Public Officials. Yevhen Pryimak will be a Head of the Office of Operational Support of Investigating Criminal Offences Committed by Organized Crime and Recognition of Unjustified Assets. And legendary Ruslan Biriukov will be a Head of the Office of Operational Support of Investigating Criminal Offences Committed by Law Enforcement Agencies and Judges.
Moreover, by total chance, the contest for the position of a Head of the Office of Investigating Criminal Offences Committed by Military Officers (this Office is part of the Main Investigations Department and will be subordinate to the future Head of the MID Borchakovskyi) will be won by Yaroslav Lioshenko, who is currently an ordinary detective of the First Investigations Department of the Third Office of Pre-Trial Investigations of the SBI. Although, a little bit of trouble occurred—according to the law, Yaroslav Vadymovych must have at least three years of administrative tenure, which he doesn’t have in the slightest. But where is the law, and where is the SBI…
Babikov liked Lioshenko because of quick thinking demonstrated during investigating a criminal proceeding against a former Chief of the General Staff Volodymyr Zamana. In February of 2020, Lioshenko had to notify Yanukovych of absentee suspicion within this criminal proceeding, and reported to Babikov on a draft. And then something happened: either Lioshenko didn’t see corpus delicti in ex-president’s actions, or Yanukovych embarked on the road of redemption and is no longer a public danger… Pavlo Lebediev and Dmytro Salamatin, two former Ministers of Defense of Ukraine, also didn’t get their notifications of absentee suspicion, and Zamana’s notification ended up unmodified, although Lioshenko had to do this even in early 2020. However, this is not surprising, considering that procedural guidance in this proceeding was carried out by such a renowned lawyer as a former Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Chumak.
However, it will be not the heads of offices and main department who will work like dogs, but ordinary detectives who directly carry out the tasks entrusted to the SBI, namely investigating criminal proceedings. At the beginning of the year, 116 detectives worked at the Central Office of the SBI, and 279 more worked at the regional offices. But on March 3, 2020, Iryna Venediktova, an Acting Head of the Director of the SBI, notified all the employees at the Central Office of dismissal citing “public service post reductions due to changes in organizational structure,” even though there were 681 unfilled vacancies at the Central Office (and 268 more at the regional offices). In particular, around fifty detectives were laid off.
Therefore, the president shouldn’t worry about results of investigating the corruption scandal around Yermak brothers by the SBI—they are known well in advance.