Ukraine kleptocrat loses Neverland palace
Monday, February 24, 2014 at 12:28AM
Richard L. Cassin in Central African Republic, Corruption Perceptions Index, European Union, Kiev, Neverland, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovich

Ukraine's opposition this weekend overran the estate of former president Viktor Yanukovich. The 340-acre private compound, an hour's drive from Kiev, had never been open to the public.

Behind the walls people found a five-story Russian-style main house with a garage filled with classic sports cars and motorcycles.

Yanukovich bought the place when he became president in 2010.

There was a golf course and a helicopter pad.

The estate included a private zoo and a greenhouse loaded with banana plants.

Ostriches from Australia and Africa strutted along the waterways.

"Yanukovich . . . acquired control of the full estate which exists today through a chain of companies with which he had close interests," the Mail said.

Ukraine ranked 144 on the latest corruption perceptions index, tied with Nigeria, the Central African Republic, and Papua New Guinea.

The average salary in the country is about $860 a month (the global average is about $1,480).

In December, a 34-year-old female journalist was ambushed and beaten after she posted pictures online of the presidential property.

Inside the compound was a hovercraft and a jet-powered boat, along with a Russian bath house.

A huge wooden ship on a man-made pond served as a private restaurant.

Three months of anti-government protests in Kiev left about 80 people dead.

Yanukovich was last heard from Saturday when he fled the capital city.

On his way out he said he wouldn't resign. He called the vote by Ukraine's parliament to impeach him "illegal."

Rioting started last year when Yanukovich refused to sign a free trade agreement with the European Union and instead aligned with Russia.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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