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Ukraina

Att göra affärer i Ukraina: Excalibur Fallstudie 

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Mitt i den geopolitiska turbulensen som griper Ukraina utspelar sig en tyst kamp – en berättelse om korruption, inflytande och kampen för rättvisa.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the European Union and its member states har tillhandahållit 47 miljarder dollar i ekonomiskt och budgetmässigt stöd samt humanitärt bistånd och nödhjälp. Storbritannien, som en av de ledande givarna till Ukraina, har avsatt nästan 12 miljarder pund. Med detta exceptionella stöd måste Ukraina fortsätta att genomföra förändringar inom rättsväsendet och anti-korruptionssektorerna.

The initiated reforms on the path to European integration have already affected Ukraine’s position in key global indices. In 2023, Ukraine made significant strides in enhancing its anti-corruption efforts, obtaining the 104th position out of 180 nations in the global index. Among the candidate countries of the European Union, Ukraine has exhibited the most noteworthy advancement in this index over the previous decade.

Reformer har också påverkat tillståndet för den ukrainska affärssektorn, vilket framgår av den senaste UBI-undersökningen (Ukrainian Business Index), som per augusti 2023 låg på 38.23 av 100. Denna siffra har ökat något jämfört med juni 2023 (35.34) och den lokala låga september 2022 (33.9). Experter från Center for Innovative Development föreslår att en ökning av indexet återspeglar en önskan bland företag att öka sina aktiviteter på grund av trötthet i osäkerhet, snarare än som ett resultat av ekonomiska förbättringar.

In order to sustain the current favorable trajectory of combatting corruption and facilitating a robust economic revival, it is essential to analyze and prioritize challenges that could impede the objectives of European integration. Therefore, we have examined the Excalibur vessel ownership case in Ukraine’s Odesa region, which we deem crucial within this framework.

Fallet med Excalibur-fartyget.

Sedan 2015 har Excalibur förfallit på Ilyichevsk-varvet. I mars 2015, utan tillstånd från dess ägare, en israelisk person, togs fartyget till Ilyichevsk-varvets hamnar för underhåll. Bolaget CC Nordic Group K/S, som gått med på att reparera fartyget enligt kontrakt, var inte inblandat och lade ner sin verksamhet 2015.

Med hjälp av förfalskade dokument överfördes ägandet av Excalibur från Conwealth Development SA (Panama) till ett annat panamanskt företag, Gellar Equities Corp. Men Conwealth Development SA hade ingen som helst koppling till ägandet av Excalibur. Den slutliga förmånstagaren för båda företagen är en rysk medborgare vid namn Maxim Moskalev.

Annons

Sedan dess har fartygsägaren drivit rättsliga och straffrättsliga förfaranden i olika jurisdiktioner, inklusive Cypern och Ukraina.

It has been observed that Maxim Moskalev had established relationships with high-ranking officials from Russia, who held significant influence over the Ukrainian justice system through their supporters of the “Russian world” (transliteration from the original Russkiy mir — ed.) — the socio-political, geopolitical, and ideological doctrine of Putinism. On account of this, combined with the issue of corruption among Ukrainian officials, Mr. Moskalev was able to evade accountability and escape punishment.

The Excalibur, having been subject to a prolonged period of technical deterioration, was assessed to be a safety risk, rendering it unsuitable for its intended purpose. Consequently, the vessel has been reduced to scrap metal and continues to remain at the shipyard’s berths.

However, Mr. Maxim Moskalev’s actions extended beyond the mere acquisition of the Excalibur. Although his home country, Russia, is engaged in a territorial war with Ukraine, Moskalev has directed his associates to exert corrupt influence on Ukrainian judges. The ultimate goal of this influence was to secure $3.5 million in compensation from an Israeli citizen. The compensation was sought by Gellar Equities Corp., a company controlled by Maxim Moskalev, and was purportedly for lost profits resulting from the operation of an aging barge.

There are other cases of Mr. Moskalev’s involvement in corrupt practices besides the Excalibur case. One such case is Moskalev v. Yanishevsky, where Dmitry Yanishevsky filed a statutory request to Maxim Moskalev in England regarding a default judgment obtained in Hong Kong for USD 6.4 million. Moskalev, a Russian citizen residing in Cyprus, refused the request, claiming that his center of main interests (COMI) was not located in England and Wales. He was also appealing the judgment in Hong Kong on suspicion of forgery.

Even though Moskalev objected to the Conflict of Interest (COI) in England and Wales, he was personally served with the request at his wife’s apartment in London. Moskalev rejected the request, citing his foreign citizenship, lack of residence in the London apartment, and his intention to contest the validity of the sentence. He requested Yanishevsky to withdraw the request.

Yanishevsky disagreed with Moskalev’s arguments about the COI, stating that they lacked credibility. Yanishevsky presented evidence linking Moskalev to the London apartment and refuted his claims of forgery. Although Moskalev suggested extending the time limit to appeal the request and the Hong Kong verdict, Yanishevsky refused any reimbursement of costs.

Moskalev argued that Yanishevskyi’s refusal to withdraw his request must have consequences since the court found that Moskalev had refuted the request in a timely manner and Yanishevskyi’s refusal was unreasonable.

Domstolen uteslutas that Moskalev had sufficient grounds for reimbursement of the debt, recognizing him as the prevailing party in the case – he was eventually reimbursed £47,400 by Yanishevsky. Advokatbyrån som representerar Moskalev uppgav att skälet till detta beslut var att Yanishevsky hade agerat olagligt genom att lämna in otillbörliga krav (eller konkurs- eller likvidationsframställningar). 

Slutsatser. 

It is essential to recognize that Ukraine is currently grappling with two significant hurdles – an external adversary and an internal foe. Recent sociological surveys conducted by Info Sapiens reveal that 88% of Ukrainian citizens consider corruption to be among the most pressing issues facing the country. The Moskalev case serves as a vivid illustration of this problem.

Alicia Kearns, ordförande för Storbritanniens utrikesutskott och konservativ parlamentsledamot, också medgav Ukraine’s efforts in fighting corruption in an interview with The Telegraph. She said, “What I have found really interesting about Ukrainians is they don’t take it as an attack when you talk to them about the need to reform. What other country, while being at war, says we’re also going to reform our judicial processes, making sure there’s more accountability, to try to deal with corruption more. Most people say we can’t do both at once, give us a moment. They have tried to do both, but there is a long way for their society to come as yet.” 

It is worth noting that Ukraine has indeed made significant efforts in the fight against corruption and the reform of its judiciary system in recent years. To achieve this, the country has established specialized anti-corruption bodies like the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAP), and the High Anti-Corruption Court. Transparency International Ukraine’s experts have pointed to the successful implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy and the State Anti-Corruption Program (SAP), as well as increased arrests and investigations in high-level corruption cases, and the use of the Prozorro system for most procurement, as the main drivers behind the recent drop in corruption levels.

However, Alicia Kearns is right – Ukraine still has a long way to go.

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