Ukranian Weekly | June 2015 | Another Yanukovych insider, Serhii Kliuyev, flees abroad

KYIV – It’s been more than a year since former President Viktor Yanukovych fled Ukraine, and no one from his entourage has been arrested by the Ukrainian government, let alone prosecuted, for the murders during the Euro-Maidan protest. Never mind the billions alleged to have been pilfered in corruption schemes.

[Former Finance Minister Yurii Kobolov was arrested by Spanish police but has yet to be extradited to Ukraine. The government has seized his property in Ukraine.]
The latest Yanukovych insider to elude arrest was Serhii Kliuyev, who is widely believed to have fled the country within days after Ukraine’s Parliament voted on June 3 to strip him of his political immunity. By June 10, he was declared missing by Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the internal affairs minister, who confirmed a week later in Parliament that he fled to Russia through the occupied territories of Donbas.

The government’s failure to make arrests of key Yanukovych officials has infuriated critics, who believe that top state officials could have reached deals enabling their avoidance of detention and prosecution for their alleged crimes.

“I think that I’m not alone in suspecting that a non-aggression pact, a ring of protection exists between the current and past leadership of the country,” said Yegor Sobolyev, a national deputy with the Samopomich (Self-Reliance) party and chairman of the parliamentary Committee on Preventing and Countering Corruption.

The Kliuyev brothers – Serhii, 45, and Andrii, 50 – have long been political insiders, having earned their wealth in the chaotic 1990s by scooping up dozens of metallurgical, manufacturing and energy companies in their native Donbas. Their combined wealth was estimated at $323 million by the news site in its annual survey published in April 2014 (though it was reported at more than twice that amount in previous years).

His younger brother, Serhii, worked hard to avoid the same fate, but to no avail. In the days leading up to the fateful vote in the Verkhovna Rada, he was struggling to convince members of the parliamentary Rules Committee that the criminal charges that were being brought by the Procurator General’s Office were baseless and politically motivated.

That would have derailed the vote on his immunity.

At the committee’s May 28 meeting, Serhii Kliuyev’s American and Austrian lawyers presented findings of the Freeh Group, a firm launched by former FBI Director Louis Freeh and hired by Mr. Kliuyev.

The former FBI investigators determined that there was insufficient evidence to charge Mr. Kliuyev with a crime. Yet Mr. Kliuyev’s critics in Parliament said it was the firm’s investigators who didn’t have enough evidence and background in Ukrainian politics to reach their findings.

The parliamentary committee meeting had heated exchanges, reported the news site, including more accusations of national deputies taking bribes.

Just two weeks earlier, National Deputy Oleh Liashko had claimed in the Rada that Mr. Kliuyev had offered him $50 million to ensure that his parliamentary faction would refrain from voting to strip him of a deputy’s political immunity.

Among those believed to have been bought off by Mr. Kliuyev, as reported by, was the Rules Committee’s acting chair, Pavlo Pynzenyk of the People’s Front party, who resisted repeated efforts to make stripping Mr. Kliuyev’s immunity possible.

Read the story

More on the Ukranian oligarchs (including the Kliuyev brothers)


Guardian | June 2011 | Who next for Sepp Blatter’s Fifa brains trust – Cheryl Cole?

Placido Domingo, Louis Freeh, Henry Kissinger. You have to hand it to the Fifa president – he has an extraordinary talent for exhuming blasts from the past

by Marina Hyde

Say what you will about Sepp Blatter – and I think we all have – his gift for absurdist political theatre means Fifa is now officially a more effective satire on itself than anything an outsider could concoct. Intriguingly, this gift is also what makes his so-called enemies look like such piddling little dullards – but we shall come to the Football Association later.

This week, the Fifa president has mostly been assembling his “council of wisdom”, a group of wise men charged with restoring Fifa’s reputation. Latest to get the nod is Placido Domingo – “You’ll have to help me with the name”, Blatter told CNN – and the tenor could join the malarial dream team of former FBI director Louis Freeh and Johan Cruyff. The erstwhile US secretary of state and comedy Nobel peace prize winner Henry Kissinger is still mulling over his call-up.

Anyway, those who hold that football and realpolitik don’t mix must consider the game’s fabled role in preventing a second Cuban missile crisis. The way Richard Nixon’s chief of staff Bob Haldeman told it, Kissinger knew the Soviets were back in Cuba when he was presented with aerial photographs of football pitches around a Cuban seaport (the apparently correct assumption being that they were for recreational use by Russian seamen). “Those soccer fields could mean war, Bob,” Kissinger said. “Cubans play baseball. Russians play soccer.” Haldeman claimed Kissinger called in the Russian ambassador and finessed a secret withdrawal.

So instinct suggests that Henry could outmanoeuvre Jack Warner were he minded to apply three of his braincells to the task. And with whitewash duties presumably spearheaded by Freeh, whose Waco cover-up was a tour de force, Blatter’s brains trust is shaping up as a team of invincibles.

Read the story

Bloomberg | June 2011 | Jack Warner Says He’d Rather Die Than Meet FIFA Investigator

by Tariq Panja

June 21 (Bloomberg) — Jack Warner, the former FIFA vice president who quit yesterday, said he’d “die first” rather than meet with former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who’s investigating allegations of bribery within the soccer body.
FIFA said Warner’s resignation meant it ended its inquiry into the Trinidadian over claims he and Asian soccer head Mohamed Bin Hammam tried to bribe Caribbean officials in a presidential election.
Warner, who’d been with FIFA almost 30 years, said he’s willing to help FIFA but won’t cooperate with Freeh because of his ties to the U.S. The inquiry was sparked by Chuck Blazer, a U.S. soccer official who worked directly under Warner as regional body Concacaf’s general secretary. Blazer asked Chicago-based lawyer John Collins to compile a report detailing the allegations against Bin Hammam and Warner.
“I will die first. Not me,” Warner said yesterday in a telephone interview from Trinidad. “If FIFA wants me to cooperate I will do that but not with Freeh.”

Warner said Collins, who’s acted as general counsel for the United States Soccer Federation, told Concacaf officials in Zurich on May 30, a day after Bin Hammam and Warner had been suspended by FIFA’s ethics committee, that Freeh would be hired to lead the investigation. FIFA announced Freeh’s appointment on June 3, two days after Sepp Blatter was re-elected as the sole candidate following Bin Hammam’s withdrawal.
“Mr. John Collins told the members in Zurich long before he was ever appointed that Louis Freeh shall be the investigator along with his FBI team. John Collins told us that. He told us that long before he was selected. Why should I care about this farce?” Warner said.

Read the story