Saturday, 24 February 2024

ZPSanek: Ze-business

ZPSanek: Ze-business
Wednesday, 13 December 2023 06:47

How a famous blogger and member of parliament Kunytskyi uses his “servant of the People’s” mandate for the benefit of his own business


“Radio Svoboda” Heorhiy Shabayev

Изображение выглядит как текст, одежда, человек, колесоАвтоматически созданное описание

Oleksandr Kunytskyi is a “new face” of Ukrainian authorities. He is a well-known car blogger ZPSanek with millions of viewers who became famous thanks to his videos about the lawlessness of the traffic police and after that - policemen, and in 2019 he got into the Ukrainian parliament as a majoritarian MP from the President Volodymyr Zelenskyi’s political party “The Servant of the People”. 

After getting a mandate, an MP must act in the interest of the municipality that elected him as its representative. But as “The Schemes” found out, it seems that “the servant of the People” Kunytskyi decided against the law to use his mandate in his private interests, or rather for the benefit of the affiliated businesses.

This summer MP Kunytskyi’s face appeared at electric vehicle charging stations in Kyiv, as well as on the specially created website where the parliamentarian, as blogger ZPSanek, invites you to become his “partner” and invest “together with him” into “Autoenterprise” group (EVA Chargers, PC; Infinite Charge, PC; Charger System Inc.), a companies that deals with the installation of electric vehicle charging stations and their importation from abroad.

In its comment to “The Schemes” before the release of this investigation, the company named these pictures “tricks of the rivals”. But the journalists have found a number of documented facts and proofs of MP Kunytskyi engaging in operational activities of this private company and its promotion, including within the parliament walls. Moreover, as a member of law enforcement committee he initiates criminal proceedings against security and tax officers that started to investigate possible financial fraud, using for this his mandate and governmental tools given to the MP for work in the best interests of society, and not for the benefit of one business.

In June 2020, the pictures of Oleksandr Kunytskyi, an MP from “The Servant of the People” faction and a majoritarian deputy from Kharkiv, appeared at many electric vehicle charging stations in Kyiv. 

У червні 2020 року на багатьох київських заправках для електромобілів з’явилися зображення з Олександром Куницьким

In June 2020, the pictures of Oleksandr Kunytskyi appeared at many electric vehicle charging stations in Kyiv.

Does the MP really promote private business? Doesn’t it contradict the Constitution of Ukraine and the law “About status of member of parliament”, according to which authorities and business should be separated? 

Andrii Savin, lawyer in NGO “Anti-Corruption Action Centre” (AntAC), believes that a parliamentarian should not do such things: “A member of parliament is a serious position. It is forbidden to exercise any of MP’s powers in private interests”.

The prohibition for government officials to do business and promote its interests with the help of authority powers lays at the core of anti-corruption legislation in all developed democracies. 

Ron Keefover, president of the Kansas NGO “Sunshine Coalition for Open Government”, says that in the US “congressmen under no circumstances can personally sell or support any product. The violation may result in a fine or even a recall from the Congress”.

But it turned out that the advertising campaign with the “servant of the People’s” pictures wasn’t limited to the charging stations. “The Schemes” have found a website also created in June 2020, that is at the time when Oleksandr Kunytskyi was a member of parliament for almost a year.

On the home page there’s an image of the parliamentarian who invites to become his “partner” and invest “together with him” in “Autoenterprise” group (EVA Chargers, PC; Infinite Charge, PC; Charger System Inc.), a companies that deals in installation of electric vehicle charging stations and their importation from abroad.

Quite notably though, the name of Kunytskyi isn’t mentioned there, only his alias ZPSanek.

Изображение выглядит как текст, снимок экрана, Человеческое лицо, человекАвтоматически созданное описание

“The Schemes” have found the website created in June 2020, on the home page of which Oleksandr Kunytskyi invites to become his “partner” and invest “together with him” in “Autoenterprise” group (EVA Chargers, PC; Infinite Charge, PC; Charger System Inc.)

Later in his comment to “The Schemes”, a representative of this company claimed that the advertising campaign with Kunytskyi’s pictures at the stations and the website with his image is just a trick of the company’s rivals.

However, “The Schemes” proved that ZPSanek blogger hasn’t only associated himself publicly with this business for years and advertised it in his videos, but also after becoming a member of parliament committed a lot more serious actions from the point of view of anti-corruption legislation in the interests of this very company.

How ZPSanek became a member of parliament 

Who is ZPSanek? Under this name Oleksandr Kunytskyi gained popularity on YouTube long before he came to politics. A blogger from Zaporizhia, he posted videos of his interactions with the traffic police, and later, after the reform – with the policement that stopped his car, defending his rights in the conversation with them.

Изображение выглядит как человек, на открытом воздухе, одежда, машинаАвтоматически созданное описание

ZPSanek – under this name Kunytskyi gained popularity on YouTube long before his coming to politics, in a conversation with the traffic police and later – with the policemen.

Now his YouTube channel has more than a million subscribers, and his videos have from several hundred thousand to several million viewings.

Such recognition opened to Kunytskyi a way to the big politics, when the newly established party “The Servant of the People” nominated him for elections in the 169th district of Kharkiv where the car blogger competed with Oleksandr Hranovskyi from Petro Poroshenko’s party.

Under the flag of “The Servant of the People”, Kunytskyi has won getting 3 times more votes from the Kharkivens than Hranovskyi. 

After getting into the Parliament, Kunytskyi joined the law enforcement committee and became a co-author of several dozen bills. However, in a year he hasn’t once made a speech from the parliamentary tribune.

Изображение выглядит как одежда, человек, Человеческое лицо, работаАвтоматически созданное описание

After getting into the Parliament, Kunytskyi joined the law enforcement committee and became a co-author of several dozen bills. 

But it turns out, along with his work in the parliament Kunytskyi continued to develop his business and demonstrated it publicly.   

Oksana Stavniichuk, the parliament analyst of “Chesno” civil society movement, points out that members of the parliament must act in the interests of the community, and not for their own benefit: “Members of parliament have representative mandate and must act in the interests of the municipality that elected them. When we’re talking about business, it’s private interest, it involves increasing your income or increasing the income of your relatives etc.”.

How exactly is Kunytskyi associated with “Autoenterprise” group companies (EVA Chargers, PC; Infinite Charge, PC; Charger System Inc.)? 

And what is more important, after becoming a member of parliament and getting governmental tools, powers, and privileges, didn’t he succumb to temptation of using them in the interests of this company contrary to the anti-corruption legislation?

“The Schemes” journalists were looking for answers to these questions.

This story is a striking example of why the work of the member of parliament isn’t compatible with doing business, and what consequences can it lead to.

How is ZPSanek-Kunytskyi associated with “Autoenterprise” group of companies (EVA Chargers, PC; Infinite Charge, PC; Charger System Inc.)? 

The society’s demand for sustainability, reduction of gas emissions into the atmosphere etc. has been finding its realization in the West for decades, but for Ukraine it’s still a relatively new field. 

The market of electric vehicle infrastructure in Ukraine is just starting to gain momentum.

This promising and growing business has already witnessed formation of influential participants, “Autoenterprise” group companies (EVA Chargers, PC; Infinite Charge, PC; Charger System Inc.) among others.

It’s a Kharkiv business that works in several directions: import of electric cars from abroad for sell and rent, their repair, production of electric vehicle charging devices, EV charging stations’ installation and maintenance, organization of taxi services with electric car park.

For better understanding: right now, it’s the biggest player on the Ukrainian market of electric vehicle charging stations. Three of every four EV charging stations in Ukraine are produced at “Autoenterprise” group companies (EVA Chargers, PC; Infinite Charge, PC; Charger System Inc.) factory in Kharkiv, most of them operate under the same brand name. Some part of the equipment they sell to other, smaller market operators.

In its structure, “Autoenterprise” group (EVA Chargers, PC; Infinite Charge, PC; Charger System Inc.) is a pool of companies comprised of about a dozen firms. All of them are interconnected by common directors and founders. However, the main actor here is a Kharkiv businessman Dmytro Nikonov.

Formally, Kunytskyi himself has never been mentioned in these companies’ property structure. Before getting into the Parliament, he received a salary here, as well as interacted with this business as individual entrepreneur.

Група «Автоентерпрайз» об’єднана у пул компаній, який складається з близько десятка фірм, а головною дійовою особою тут виступає харківський бізнесмен Дмитро Ніконов

“Autoenterprise” group is a pool of companies comprised of about a dozen firms, and the main actor here is a Kharkiv businessman Dmytro Nikonov  

At the same time, Kunytskyi has never hidden this connection, but on the contrary many times publicly associated himself with “Autoenterprise” group companies (EVA Chargers, PC; Infinite Charge, PC; Charger System Inc.) and spoke on its behalf, and Dmytro Nikonov directly named him his business partner in the documents.

Apart from that, they together participated in TV programs. For example, in September 2017 on “Espreso” channel, they talked about the advantages of their business: “Technologies advance at such pace that before long electric panels will be so developed that basically every person would be able to install and charge their electric car. Today “Autoenterprise” group companies (EVA Chargers, PC; Infinite Charge, PC; Charger System Inc.) makes it possible with the help of our charging stations. And this is the cheapest option to charge a car”.

Since then and up till now nothing changed in the company’s property structure, and Kunytskyi continued to promote this business in his YouTube videos.

For example, in April 2019 he mentioned: ““Autoenterprise” group companies (EVA Chargers, PC; Infinite Charge, PC; Charger System Inc.) hires new employees in view of its expansion. If you like to work with the professionals and want to create the future – you belong with us”.

One can also hear similar referencse on a video published amid election campaign. “I’ll tell you where to buy a car 500 dollars cheaper. Only when dealing with “Autoenterprise” group companies (EVA Chargers, PC; Infinite Charge, PC; Charger System Inc.), you’ll have our manager pick you up a car 500 dollars cheaper than any other competitor may offer” – tells Kunytskyi.

What is noteworthy, in summer 2019 not only Kunytskyi tried to get into the Parliament, but also Dmytro Nikonov, who this business is registered to, took part in the elections in the nearby district in Kharkiv. Although in the end the party didn’t approve his candidature.

But “The Schemes” have found the set of documents submitted by him. In his application form Dmytro Nikonov directly mentioned that Oleksandr Kunytskyi was his business partner.

У своїй анкеті Дмитро Ніконов прямо вказував, що Олександр Куницький – його бізнес-партнер

In his application form Dmytro Nikonov directly mentioned that Oleksandr Kunytskyi was his business partner 

Instead in his comment to “The Schemes”, the head of “Autoenterprise” group companies (EVA Chargers, PC; Infinite Charge, PC; Charger System Inc.) and Kunytskyi’s assistant Nikonov denied that he applied for candidate: “I wasn’t a candidate… I was asked in “The Servant of the People” … I told them: guys, I’m a businessman, I have a work to do, I’m a constructor, I’m an engineer, I’m a programmer, I can’t just sit and press a button. This task is too small for me… We are number one in all respects. In Kyiv we are number one, do you understand the situation?”

After becoming an MP, Kunytskyi took Nikonov, the official owner of, how it turns out, their common business, as his assistant. On a voluntary basis. But who helps who really?

“The Schemes” found out certain facts that indicate that after becoming an MP Kunytskyi used his mandate in the interests of ““Autoenterprise” group companies (EVA Chargers, PC; Infinite Charge, PC; Charger System Inc.), a group of companies with not only ambitious plans, but also with a long history of troubles with the law.

“Autoenterprise’s” problems with law enforcers 

In autumn 2018, Kharkiv tax officers checked one of the firms of “Autoenterprise” group named “Tesla motors” and established around 20 million UAH tax underpayment.

Nikonov and Kunytskyi didn’t agree with that, they came to Kharkiv tax administration, and the company’s lawyers presented their objections.

At that time Dmytro Nikonov was telling: “In fact, the enterprise almost doesn’t make money. But they said that could never happen, that the business was set up for the sake of money”.

Then the drivers of “Ecotaxi” that belongs to the same business group even came out to protest in front of the tax office.

Six months passed, and “Tesla Motors” problems with tax authorities didn’t become fewer. The presented objections were taken into consideration only partially. Instead, the tax officers established other irregularities, for example “Tesla Motors” was selling a part of their electric cars for cash and didn’t pay taxes for them, they were withdrawing money to affiliated individual entrepreneurs without having justification for such payments. For all the violations, in the end they were fined for more than 220 million UAH.

At the same time, the group of Kharkiv companies “Autoenterprise” became of interest for metropolitan law enforcers, particularly the investigation department of Large Taxpayers Office of State Tax Service in cooperation with the Office of the Prosecutor General.

Their investigation established that while importing the cars from the US and selling them in Ukraine, Kharkiv businessmen underdeclare their value, in other words they committed large-scale tax evasion, which is prejudicial to the state budget.

Specifically, the register of court orders states: “Pre-trial investigation has established that D.A. Nikonov, by prior agreement with the employees of the affiliated companies, among them “Autoenterprise”, as well as a number of individual entrepreneurs, among them Alina Mustafayeva (and others)… between 2015 and 2018, purchased electric cars in the United States, imported them to Ukraine and performed their customs clearance using fake documents, with underdeclared customs value and underdeclared value of their further sale to the final buyers”.

Изображение выглядит как текст, письмо, снимок экрана, ШрифтАвтоматически созданное описание

The investigation has established that when importing electric cars from the US and selling them in Ukraine, Kharkiv businessmen underdeclare their value. 

Besides, Nikonov, according to the investigators, organized the work of a taxi service in Kharkiv without license using the labor of unregistered employees, as well as the production of charging devices for electric vehicles without necessary certificates and declarations of compliance.

The pre-trial investigation of this case hasn’t been finished yet; it was prolongated up till 2021.

On top of that, State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) has opened a criminal proceeding, and this time the suspicion fell on civil servants, specifically customs officers, who were accused of taking bribes for helping “Ecomobiles” LLC., another company affiliated with “Autoenterprise”, to underdeclare customs value when importing Chevrolet Volt electric cars.

All this growing attention of tax and law enforcement authorities to its accountancy, “Autoenterprise” called pressure on the business. The fines haven’t been paid yet; the trials continue. 

Despite this, the company keeps growing, it installs new stations all over Ukraine, increases volumes of electric cars import from the US, and this June another firm with 1 million UAH authorized capital has joined the group of companies.

Also, with Kunytskyi being elected to the parliament, something else has changed.

Protection from searches: common “registration” of the MP and the business

Among the attributes that members of parliament, especially majoritarian MPs, like to acquire, are public offices. Basically, it’s an officially registered address or few of them, that serve as a place for interaction between an MP and the electorate.

But there is one peculiarity: public offices being the premises that belong to a member of parliament are inviolable. To carry out there, for example, a search within the frame of a criminal case, the investigator must get a personal approval of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine.

So where are located MP Oleksandr Kunytskyi’s public offices?

According to the official website of the Ukrainian parliament, one of Kunytskyi’s public offices is in Kharkiv, 271a Akademika Pavlova str., which is also the address of “Ecomobiles” company of “Autoenterprise” group, the same company whose activity is being investigated by State Bureau of Investigation.  

One of Kunytskyi’s public offices is located in Kharkiv, at the same address as the office of “Ecomobiles” company of “Autoenterprise” group

Private company “Autoenterprise”, involved in another criminal case lead by State Tax Service’s investigators, is also registered at this address. 

Kunytskyi has also registered another public office in Kharkiv, at the address 6 Rudyka str., where two of the “Autoenterprise” companies are located: production facilities of SPA “Systema” that manufactures electric vehicle charging devices, and “Autoenterprise Kharkiv” LLC, whose activities are also being investigated by tax authorities under the procedural guidance of the prosecutor’s office.

Изображение выглядит как текст, Человеческое лицо, человек, снимок экранаАвтоматически созданное описание

Kunytskyi has also registered another public office in Kharkiv, at the address 6 Rudyka str., where two of “Autoenterprise” companies are located: “Systema” and “Autoenterprise Kharkiv” LLC 

Andrii Savin, the AntAC lawyer, assumes it’s not a mere coincidence: “It’s a safety catch. The Prosecutor General can’t just say “give me a request, I’ll sign it and carry out a search”. It’s a complicated procedure, the prosecutor general has a corresponding department that is going to study this, that is to say, it may take time. Of course, one may think it’s just a matter of business safety”.

Parliamentary committee that Oleksandr Kunytskyi wanted to join from the beginning, is the law enforcement committee. He explained this desire by his interest in police reform, which is logical due to his background, as he puts it, of many years of public struggle against the lawlessness of the traffic police and later police officers. But at first it didn’t work out.

Kunytskyi has even recorded a corresponding video: “This is the committee on the legislative support of law enforcement activities. In my opinion, it’s the only relevant committee for me. Today, coming to the committee meeting, I realized that I was no longer its member. Without even talking to me, without any coordination, I was transferred to another committee. I consider it necessary and right to discuss this question publicly”.

At the end of the day, Kunytskyi has managed to get his way and has got a seat in a much-wanted committee.

Now Kunytskyi will have some questions to the heads of law enforcement agencies that often come to report to this committee. And not only about the police reform.

Tool of power: «deputy appeal» to the law enforcement agencies

Among the methods of exercising their official powers, members of parliament have such tool as deputy appeal. The appeal of an MP to different state agencies is basically a request of the parliamentarian authorized by the People to pay attention to a problem, to take some action or provide some information.

Oksana Stavniichuk, the analyst of “Chesno” movement, names another aspect of such appeals: “The advantage of deputy appeal and deputy request is that it is obligatory for answering”.

Andrii Savin, the AntAC lawyer, also draws attention to this peculiarity: “There’s a law that obliges any person who received a deputy appeal to look into a matter and provide a written answer within a specific timeframe. Failure to provide an answer to the deputy appeal is punishable under criminal law”.

“The Schemes” found out that as early as the second month of his parliamentary mandate, MP Kunytskyi wrote appeals to the then-prosecutor general of Ukraine Ruslan Riaboshapka.

To the letter on the official deputy blank he attaches the letter from “Ecomobiles” director, a complaint about the actions of the SBI officers who opened and investigated the criminal case concerning the conspiracy between customs officers and this company with the purpose of undervaluation of customs payments to the budget. The MP suggests opening the criminal proceeding against SBI investigators that have so much interest in this business.

Вже на другий місяць свого депутатства парламентар Куницький написав звернення до тодішнього генпрокурора Руслана Рябошапки

As early as the second month into his parliamentary mandate, MP Kunytskyi wrote an appeal to the then-prosecutor general Ruslan Riaboshapka 

When talking about the circumstances of those events with different sources familiar with the matter, “The Schemes” received a few voicemails that MP Kunytskyi supposedly sent to his colleague via WhatsApp messenger, discussing with him their common business deals during the work in the parliament.

Two of these voicemails are dated October 18, 2019, which is two days after sending the appeal concerning the solving of the company’s problems to the Prosecutor General Riaboshapka.

“We’re discussing the budget now; the meeting was resumed. Today Riaboshapka is waiting at the committee for us to be free and come to press him… Remind me about the criminal proceeding, what’s the deal?”, says the voice that resembles Kunytskyi’s.

That day, Ruslan Riaboshapka indeed came to the parliament’s law enforcement committee.

And in four weeks, the letter signed by the Prosecutor General Riaboshapka informed MP Kunytskyi: “Your appeal has been processed. Currently the pre-trial investigation in this criminal proceeding is being conducted. Upon review of the appeal, no violations of the requirements of the current legislation were established, thus there are no grounds for taking response measures for the time being”.

за чотири тижні листом за підписом генпрокурора Рябошапки депутата Куницького поінформували, що його «звернення розглянуто 

In four weeks, a letter signed by the Prosecutor General Riaboshapka informed MP Kunytslyi that his appeal had been processed. 

The appeal of MP Kunytskyi to another law enforcement agency delivered even better results to the group of companies affiliated with him. 

On September 17, 2019 “the servant of the People” sends a deputy appeal to the then-director of the State Bureau of Investigations Roman Truba. Neither in this, nor in other similar appeals the MP mentioned his personal connection to this business.

Kunytskyi complains to the SBI director about the officers from the tax service’s large taxpayers office, who investigate the tax evasion of “Autoenterprise” group and Dmytro Nikonov. Nor he mentions that Nikonov is his personal assistant.

Roman Truba’s reaction is lightning-fast. The very next day the SBI opens criminal proceedings against the tax officers who suspected “Autoenterprise” to be involved in financial fraud, on charges of counteraction to legitimate economic activity. 

17 вересня 2019 року «слуга народу» пише депутатське звернення на ім’я на той час директора ДБР Романа Труби – а вже наступного дня ДБР відкриває провадження проти податківців, які запідозрили «Автоентерпрайз» у фінансових махінаціях

On September 17, 2019, “the servant of the People” submits a deputy appeal to the then-director of the SBI Roman Truba, and the next day the SBI opens a proceeding against the tax officers who suspected “Autoenterprise” to be involved in financial fraud

In his comment to “The Schemes”, Dmytro Nikonov claimed that “he had no problems with the business” and added: “Why would I need to ask him (Kunytskyi  - ed.) to help me with solving problems”?

Answering the question about the deputy appeal where MP complained to the SBI management about the investigators from the tax service’s large taxpayers office, Nikonov said he had no knowledge of that: “I don’t know about this appeal, but I’ll tell you what – when he was still a blogger, we went to combat these guys together etc. They are extortioners who were caught getting bribes. That’s all. I don’t know, that’s his initiative… I’m not vengeful, I let it go, yes. But maybe he remembered that situation. And after all, if MP gets to know about something… let’s assume he has information, conversation recordings etc., he must act accordingly…”.

According to Andrii Savin, by submitting a deputy appeal in his private interests, Kunytskyi himself has broken the law: “It’s not forbidden for any person to file a statement about a crime to the law enforcement authorities. But if he, in this case, asks to open criminal proceedings using the tool of the deputy appeal, he himself violates anti-corruption laws, because he uses his MP powers in his private interests”.

National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) confirmed that regardless of MP’s identity, his appeal to open criminal proceedings in the case that he may have connection to, is violation of the law.

“He uses his deputy’s mandate, basically substituting with such actions the procedural mechanisms of interaction between the parties of criminal proceeding” – explains Oleksandr Shulha, the acting head of the NACP Department for Conflict of Interests and Restrictions on Corruption Prevention.

He also adds: “NACP takes a principled stand on the fact that, if criminal proceedings has some connection to an MP, and he tries to get certain information concerning this criminal proceedings by submitting a deputy appeal, he acts in the context of conflict of interests”.

  • He gets a fine?– the journalists try to clarify possible consequences for the lawbreaker. 

  • A fine and an entry in the Register of Corruptionists. 

Kharkiv majoritarian deputy used the tool of deputy appeal not only to solve the problems of the business closely associated with him with the law enforcement agencies.

“In the yard of the parliament”: using the mandate to find the best locations for “his” charging stations. 

Oleksandr Kunytskyi rents an apartment in a building on Yevhena Konovaltsia str., in the metropolitan Pechersk neighborhood, which he indicates in his tax statement.

“The Schemes” found his deputy appeal addressed to private company “DTEK Kyiv Electricity Network” that oversees all electricity networks in the capital and connection to them.

It goes like this: “I ask to provide a member of Ukrainian Parliament with all the existing information concerning the connection to electricity networks, on the example of electric vehicle charging station (technical certificate attached) at one of the transformer substations located at the address Kyiv, 34a Yevhena Konovaltsia str. What is the procedure of such connection? Is it possible to install such device on the wall of the transformer substation? If not, where is it possible? Please provide comprehensive, full, and unbiased consideration of this appeal, and inform the member of Ukrainian Parliament about its results within the timeframe established by law”.

«Схеми» знайшли депутатське звернення Олександра Куницького, адресоване приватній компанії «ДТЕК Київські електромережі»

“The Schemes” have found Oleksandr Kunytskyi’s deputy appeal addressed to private company “DTEK Kyiv Electricity Network” 

To the deputy appeal concerning the installation of a charging station near his house, Kunytskyi has attached technical certificate of charging device TYPE1 & TYPE2 produced… by Kharkiv company “Autoenterprise”.

The energy company “DTEK Kyiv Electricity Network” confirmed to “The Schemes” that they did receive such appeal, although they refused to tell whether they fulfilled MP’s request invoking the correspondence confidentiality.

Andrii Savin, the AntAC lawyer, sees the violation of the law in this case too: “Here we have another violation: an MP submits an appeal and uses his powers in his private interests to influence the decision, to show that he is interested in solving this matter”.

It got to the point where Kunytskyi was promoting “Autoenterprise” interests directly within the walls of the parliament. He wanted to install a charging device in the yard of parliamentary committees at 3a Sadova str., getting involved in this matter personally.

Apart from the documents that confirm this, it can be heard from the voicemail: 

“I made a deal with the parliament’s administrative office; they allow us to install a charging station on their premises. It can be regular, it can be with three plugs, but I think we can install here a regular one, wall mounted. We need to give them someone’s contact details, like, to the head of the administrative office, for him to contact. We, like, pay for everything, they just give us this opportunity. That’s all, we install this charging station. Just for you to know and tell me, who to contact with, whose contact to give to the security service, administrative office etc.”

“The Schemes” contacted the experts of the National Center for Media Forensics, an education and research center of the University of Colorado (Denver), that was established with the assistance of the US Department of Justice and cooperates with the US government. They were given two audio tracks: one that was used in the voicemail allegedly belonging to Kunytskyi and samples of his voice from numerous public speeches.

One question was posed: is it the same person? The result of forensics was positive.

Catalin Grigoras, director of the National Center for Media Forensics of the University of Colorado, informed us that analytical comparison of the recordings of an unknown and a known speaker showed the likelihood ratio value of 2399, which means it’s 2399 times more likely that the same person speaks in both recordings, than that there are different people.

So, the results that were obtained show high probability of the voice resemblance according to this methodology.

Таким чином, отримані високі показники вірогідності подібності голосів за шкалою, передбаченою цією методологією

So, the results that were obtained show high probability of the voice resemblance according to this methodology.  

The Ukrainian Parliament has also confirmed to the journalists that MP Kunytskyi proposed the idea of installing an electric vehicle charging station on the premises of the parliament, without mentioning that it was his business. However, his proposal was rejected for another reason, due to the absence of legal mechanisms for such procedure.

That way, certain facts and documents confirm that MP Kunytskyi is engaged in the operational activity of a private company and its promotion, including within the walls of the parliament. Also, as a member of law enforcement committee, he initiates criminal proceedings against the law enforcers that investigate possible financial fraud, using the parliamentary mandate and tools of power given to the MP to work for the benefit of society, and not in the interests of a particular business.

It creates inequality between other market participants, which can be especially felt when the representative of the biggest player on the market uses powers of authority in the interests of a certain company.

How “the servant of the People” introduced bills in the interests of a “particular manufacturer” 

And what about legislative activities? Did “the servant of the People” Kunytskyi by any chance try to improve the conditions of doing the business on behalf of which he was speaking for years, and which he continued to promote after being elected to the parliament?

As MP, Kunytskyi introduced three bills directly related to electric vehicles.

The first of these three bills he singlehandedly initiated in the new parliament’s first week of work. Among other things, this bill was intended to make the work of charging station networks’ operators easier. Kunytsky proposed to exempt them from the necessity to obtain license for electricity trade. However, the National Commission for State Regulation of Energy has clarified a year and a half ago that network of electric vehicle charging stations don’t need such licenses.

Also, Kunytskyi proposed to reduce the timeframe of obtaining approval for chargers’ installation to one day, without demanding special permits. 

But the legislative novelties proposed by the MP concerned not all types of charging stations, but only high-power fast charging stations and combined charging systems. Moreover, the MP proposed to the Ministry of Energy to oblige all new charging stations to install these very types of chargers till 2025.

How can it be explained? Most Ukrainian operators of charging station networks install regular chargers that can charge EV battery in a few hours. Fast chargers, if you buy them on the world markets, cost 3-5 times more – that is, prices start from 25 thousand euros. Meanwhile, “Autoenterprise” has in Kharkiv its own production of so-called combined AC/DC chargers.

Turns out that after approval of this bill the company would be able to get substantial preferences in comparison with its competitors. This caused indignation of other market participants.

Among others, European Electric Vehicle Association of Ukraine made a public statement that said the following: “The words “or combined systems of alternating current and direct current (AC/DC) charging in the same device” in fact mean a specific product of a specific Ukrainian manufacturer, which may have negative impact on the market development and compromise the competition on the market”.

Із публічної заяви Європейської електромобільної асоціації України

Extract from the public statement of the European Electric Vehicle Association of Ukraine

At the end of the day, Kunytskyi has withdrawn this bill and introduced another one, which envisaged the facilitation of the conditions for all participants of electric vehicle infrastructure market. However, this bill was also excluded from consideration in February.

Kunytskyi’s assistant Dmytro Nikonov in his conversation with us clarified: the bill from the very beginning was an initiative of his colleague, another MP’s assistant: “I really asked that no bills concerning my business were introduced by Sasha [Kunytskyi]. And I won’t participate in any… so that there’s no conflict of interests, I won’t. Whether they are good or bad, doesn’t matter. I explained this, and this bill didn’t go anywhere. Sasha strongly disagreed with me, he wanted this. It’s useful, it’s good. But I insisted. And in the end, thank God, they withdrew it. I was really against it because it’s conflict of interests. I think so. It’s a good initiative, just it’d better not come from Sasha”.

“Basically, we’re talking about lobbying, – says the head of NAPC Department Oleksandr Shulha regardless of the identity of a particular MP. – But for the lack of legislation that regulates lobbying of interests of certain groups and people, the only legal assessment that can be used in this case – it’s a conflict of interests, provided there are all qualifying factors in MP’s actions”.

The AntAC lawyer Andrii Savin instead draws attention to another aspect.

  • Together with all the facts, it’s rather abuse of MP’s powers. 

  • Is it too a criminal offence?

  • Yes, it’s a criminal offence, it’s a corruption-related criminal offence, in this case it’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau’s competence. From our point of view, there are grounds for talking about the abuse of authority, which is corruption-related criminal offence.

“The Schemes” asked Dmytro Nikonov about his opinion of the “servant of the People” Oleksandr Kunytskyi’s role in the development of “Autoenterprise” business: “I met Sasha, like, four years ago. In fact, it wasn’t me who met him, our head of advertisement department asked me to tell him about electric vehicles, the rent of electric cars. We launched this rental service, then closed it… After that we kind of helped him, gave him different cars to “catch” policemen… So, we became friends. He didn’t play any role, his job was, like, to install chargers in Zaporizhia… That’s the end of it. He is no businessman at all”.

Does Kunytskyi get income from this business?

If an MP promotes the interests of the business, what’s his financial interest? In other words: does “the servant of the People” Oleksandr Kunytskyi get income from the activities of “Autoenterprise”?

Right after his victory in the parliamentary elections, he closed his business as individual entrepreneur and started to declare only his MP’s salary. He was never mentioned among the owners of “Autoenterprise” group at the time when he invited people to work “for him”, nor when after becoming MP he was sending letters to the law enforcers or wanted to install an “Autoenterprise” charging station right on the premises of the parliament.

The law enforcement authorities could clarify whether he gets any income from the business activities of “Autoenterprise” group, and if yes, then in what form – in cash or via bank transfers, as a regular income or sporadic financial remuneration. Of course, if they are interested in the facts mentioned in this investigation.

But one thing regarding financial relations of Kunytskyi with the business that he promotes, is telling.

Discount for MP

Camera crew of “The Schemes” recorded how Kunytskyi, coming out of the parliament building, got into Nissan Leaf electric car. This car isn’t his, it’s rented from “Autoenterprise” private company.

«Схеми» зафіксували, як Куницький, виходячи з парламенту, сів у електрокар Nissan Leaf

“The Schemes” recorded how Kunytskyi, coming out of the parliament, got into a Nissan Leaf electric car.

The MP specifies this fact in his tax statement, but for some reason doesn’t mention the cost of renting this car from the private company. And “The Schemes” found out possible reason. 

Депутат вказує у своїй декларації, що орендує електрокар Nissan Leaf в компанії ПП «Автоентерпрайз», але чомусь не зазначає, за скільки

The MP indicates in his tax statement that he rents a Nissan Leaf electric car from “Autoenterprise” company, but for some reason doesn’t mention the price of rent. 

The company’s website states clearly that the rent of the same 2013 electric car costs 30 dollars a day, if you rent it for longer than 20 days, which amounts to about 900 dollars a month. 

So how much does this rent cost to Oleksandr Kunytskyi?

“The Schemes” found out the details of the notarized rental agreement between him and “Autoenterprise” company. On November 4, 2019, already being MP, he rented the car for 2,5 thousand UAH a month, which is about 10 times cheaper that the cost of this service for all other people.

The journalists asked Oleksandr Kunytskyi for a comment about all the mentioned facts, but as of the release date of this investigation, the MP didn’t respond. His position will be added as soon as we have it.

“In theory, we can talk about getting certain benefits or preferences that another person wouldn’t be able to get in similar circumstances, - assumes the head of NAPC department Oleksandr Shulha. – And if such thing really happened and it can be proved, we can talk here about a valuable gift or improper advantage”.

In his electoral program, then-candidate Oleksandr Kunytskyi promised in particular: “to establish financial penalties for state officers. In case of repetition of authority abuse – dismiss without the right for reinstatement”.

Kunytskyi has never started to turn these election promises into reality. Instead, considering the established facts, his actions can fall under applicable anti-corruption legislation.

“The Schemes” will keep track of the law enforcement authorities’ possible reaction to this investigative report.


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Friday, 23 February 2024