Ukrainian Police Seize Large Collection From Scherban Apartments

KIEV, Ukraine -- The police have seized paintings, antique icons, collection of samovars, arms and ammunition from the apartment of Volodymyr Scherban, former chair of the Sumy regional state administration. Ukrainian News learned this from the report of the liaison department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

According to the police report, officers of law-enforcement agencies seized 159 paintings and antique icons of historical and artistic value, 178 samovars, 22 cold steel arms, 33 firearms and 6,000 cartridges from Scherban's apartments.

Upon consent of the Prosecutor General's Office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs put part of seized items on exhibition in the Ministry 's Center of Culture and Arts. While the opening of the exhibition of seized items, the Minister of Internal Affairs Yurii Lutsenko said that the aim of this exhibition is to demonstrate the corruption of the old power.

Lurtsenko said the legal wage of governors reached UAH 1,000-2,000 while items found in Scherban's apartments cost more than thousands of dollars. "I did this (exhibition) to show people that police is not persecuting politicians. Police struggles against those who had been plundering the state and robbing people," Lutsenko made a statement.

He said that all seized items now have a status of material evidence in cases filed against Scherban. Lutsenko said that seized valuables will be handled differently. Part of them was stolen from museums and thus can be returned to these museums after court decisions, and the other part may be returned to owners of these valuables in cases they were stolen. Exhibited items are valued from UAH 1,000 to several thousand hryvnias.

Lutsenko mentioned that experts made such evaluation to prevent accusations that police overestimated the price of these items for political reasons. At the same time, the minister said, if these valuables are sold on auctions, their price may grow by 5-10 times.

According to the data of the police, Sumy regional prosecutor's office is investigating four criminal cases against Scherban. On April 26, prosecutor's office filed a case based on article 189, clause 2 of the Criminal Code into the fact of extortion of shares in Interregional Center of Stock Market Technologies from heads of enterprises of light and processing industry.

On May 4, prosecutor's office filed a case based on Article 365, clause 1 of the Criminal Code into the fact of abuse of office, namely, threats to representatives of local power aiming to force them to vote for presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych on election.

On May 19, prosecutor's office filed the case into Article 364, clause 2 of the Criminal Code based on the fact that Scherban forced representatives of local power to canvass in their constituencies to ensure Yanukovych's victory on election in August-October 2004.

On May 27, prosecutor's office filed a case based on the same article for illegal use of charter flight services of Aerostar company in 2004-2005. As Ukrainian News reported, the Internal Affairs Ministry launched an international search for Scherban and located him.

Source: Ukrainian News Agency