Poroshenko controlled at least 6 offshore companies to buy art, investigation says
Petro Poroshenko controlled at least 6 offshore companies that used the Austrian Raiffeisen Bank International services, and another 11 offshore companies had ties to Poroshenko's business empire.
The Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) reports.
According to researchers, Intraco, Vernon, and 15 other companies that process tens of millions of dollars each year are related to Poroshenko and his business empire and had accounts in Raiffeisen. Most of them were registered in the British Virgin Islands and Cyprus.
In the case of six of these companies, OCCRP was able to establish through e-mail correspondence and other documentation that Poroshenko personally controls them. Others entered transactions related to Poroshenko's business, but the OCCRP found no clear evidence that he controlled them.
In particular, email correspondence and other documents show that Poroshenko made executive decisions on behalf of Vernon, Linquist, and Cyprus firm Chartomena Ltd.
Serhii Zaitsev was officially listed as the beneficial owner of Vernon Holdings and most of the six companies in Raiffeisen's documents.
In 2016, he already denied that he ran Intraco in favor of Poroshenko. He hasn't responded to a request for comment yet.
According to the OCCRP, before his presidency in the early 2010s, Petro Poroshenko built an estate outside Kyiv and decided to furnish it with expensive furniture. Using the offshore company Vernon Holdings, located in the British Virgin Islands, Petro Poroshenko and his wife Maryna bought accessories worth more than 100 thousand dollars from Italian furniture manufacturers between 2009 and 2012.
In May 2012, after being appointed Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Poroshenko purchased a surreal sculpture of a long-legged elephant by Salvador Dali for $338,500 at an auction at Sotheby's in New York with the help of offshore company Linquist Ltd.
Raiffeisen has identified Zaitsev as the beneficial owner of Linquist. According to documents obtained by the OCCRP, Poroshenko had a power of attorney from the company, which later sold the statue to one of Poroshenko's Ukrainian media companies for $342,500.
In April 2013, Poroshenko used Vernon to buy art objects for 4.8 million pounds. Among them is Ilya Repin's canvas, "Cossacks on the Black Sea."
At the request of the OCCRP, legal advisers to Ukraine's fifth president denied his involvement with offshore companies: "Petro Poroshenko is not a shareholder, ultimate beneficial owner or employee of any of these companies."