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Bill Waite Contributing Editor

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Friday
Oct192018

‘Dead’ Ukrainian found living in $5.3 million French castle

Police in France arrested a Ukrainian citizen who allegedly faked his death as part of an intricate and large-scale corruption scheme. 

French police said the unnamed man, arrested on October 5, was a "high-profile" Ukrainian.

EU law enforcement agency Europol nicknamed him "King of the Castle."

The King was arrested at his 12th century castle Chateau de La Rochepot outside of Dijon. Police also recovered a vintage Rolls-Royce Phantom, jewelry, and three works by Salvador Dali, according to reports.

French police began investigating the King after a Luxembourg-based company purchased the castle.

The company's beneficial ownership was "a Ukrainian citizen suspected of corruption at a large scale in his country."

Europol worked with French, Ukrainian, and Luxembourg authorities to discover the King had forged his own death certificates and "was not only alive, but was enjoying a lavish lifestyle in France."

Ukraine is currently tied at 130 with Sierre Leone and Myanmar on the TI Corruption Perceptions Index. 

Earlier this year, the country appointed a new auditor for the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Some local anti-corruption activists considered the appointee, Vladimir Vasilenko, to be a “pocket” candidate of the establishment and were disappointed by the selection. 

A Ukrainian court ruled in September that authorities should have access to the cellphone data of an investigative reporter working on stories about anti-corruption investigations.

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Harry Cassin is the managing editor of the FCPA Blog.