Notorious judge Roman Volodymyrovych Boyko now plans to run for the position of Chief Justice of the Kyiv Commercial Court. His nomination is actively supported and unofficially lobbied by the controversial judge Artur Yemelyanov. The latter aims to regain the possibility to influence one of the most important courts in Ukraine and the system of commercial courts in general.
The persona of Artur Yemelyanov deserves special attention; after all, he is called a corrupt judge for a reason. Back in October 2016, Prosecutor General’s Office handed a notice of suspicion to Yemelyanov in regards to illegal interference with the activity of the judicial authorities and with the operation of the automated court case distribution system: in the times of Yanukovych he built a scheme that allowed to distribute cases manually, appointing specific loyal judges for certain cases.
Yemelyanov’s fortune is something many businessmen would envy: in 2014, Yemelyanov owned 12 apartments, which he “forgot” to include in his electronic declaration. He has UAH 300 million deposited in the accounts in The Principality of
Liechtenstein, the fraudulent nature of which Ukraine failed to prove, for unknown reasons, and in July 2016 these assets were released.
Also, Yemelyanov was suspected of financing terrorist organizations in the Temporarily occupied and uncontrolled territories of Ukraine (in Donetsk and Luhansk regions). The case was about delivery of specific court judgments, which the clients required, in exchange for bribes. Subsequently, to launder the money, businesses / facilities and commercial property in territories of Donetsk region that were temporarily occupied by terrorists were acquired through straw men or proxies.
Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) claims that companies controlled by Judge Yemelyanov regularly paid ‘taxes’ to the terrorists. Also, one of the properties, acquired by Yemelyanov in Donetsk, housed an office of the so-called central bank of the DPR. SBU has information proving complicacy of Yemelyanov and his accomplices in commercial transactions in the Temporarily occupied and uncontrolled territories of Ukraine and financing of terrorists.
On June 4, 2018, the Supreme Council of Justice ultimately released Artur Yemelyanov, as in addition to financing separatism, he was suspected of corruption and pressuring judges. His spouse was also involved in the money laundering schemes.
Finally, a recent tragic story came as a total shock to everyone, as Yemelyanov turned out to be one of the people, who possibly ordered a hit on Vyacheslav Sobolev, a deputy of Kyiv Council: on December 1, 2019, a killer shot and killed the deputy’s three-year old son during the attack. Long before the murder, in 2016, Sobolev claimed he received a note with threats. At that time, he named a ‘group of raiders’ led by Yemelyanov as the organizers of the “hunt”. “Even before the war, they managed to take away my property in Donetsk, and now they plan a hostile takeover of a shopping mall in Mariupol,” wrote Sobolev.
Sobolev’s attorney claims that Yusup Abuyev suspected of organizing the murder of the politician’s son may be linked to the former judge of the Supreme Commercial Court Artur Yemelyanov. The link between the former judge and the suspect can be traced through Tradition and Order public organization. Tradition and Order was also involved in the contract attack against Chief Justice of the Supreme Council of Justice Ihor Benedysyuk, which happened after he released Judge Yemelyanov.
Multiple meetings the journalists witnessed and also joint involvement in the criminal cases testify to a long-term friendship between Boyko and Yemelyanov, as well as their clear loyalty towards each other.
In my opinion, at first sight, the biography of the little-known judge Roman Boyko seems rather typical:
Now, Roman Boyko plans to run for the position of Chief Justice of the Kyiv Commercial Court. Through the appointment of Boyko, Yemelyanov intends to regain the possibility to influence one of the most important courts in Ukraine and the system of commercial courts in general.
Information about dishonorable conduct of Roman Boyko, the judge of the Kyiv Commercial Court, and his link to Yemelyanov was published by a number of publications, including the “Public Integrity Council” in March 2019, which presented a conclusion on failure of the judge to meet the criteria of integrity and professional ethics.
Later, in May 2019, the “Public Integrity Council” published (updated) a new version of the conclusion on Judge Boyko, taking into account his clarifications. In the course of consideration, the Council outlined three key episodes (conclusions) regarding Boyko:
Episode 1. The judge allowed actions (inaction) or passed decisions based on corporate solidarity, while manipulating circumstances or law. This led to distribution of cases in court in violation of the random principle while using automated system, or other interference with the automated case distribution.
Back in 2012, Ivchenko, one of the judges of the Kyiv Commercial Court passed an arbitrary judgment in the case No. 5011-61/11340-2012, satisfying the UAH 3.1 billion claim of the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation against the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. The judgment was justified by a non-existent guarantee, which the Cabinet of Ministers allegedly provided to CJSC United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU) against the obligations under the contracts with the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation.
After the escape of the former president Yanukovych, on March 7, 2014, Judge Roman Boyko reconsidered this judgment and revoked it. In his decision, he referred to “newly discovered circumstances”, specifically that the Ukrainian government did not provide guarantees for CJSC UESU on its contracts. These facts, however, were known also when the first judgment in the case was passed in 2012. In response to this judgment, the Special Investigations Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine executed a notice of suspicion for Judge Ivchenko. According to the investigators, appointment of Roman Boyko for reconsideration of the judgement based on the newly discovered circumstance also, most likely happened with interference in the automated case distribution system.
Based on the materials of the investigation, interference in the operation of the automated case distribution system was carried out through input of artificial specializations of the judges, which often duplicated each other. Prior to 2015, Roman Boyko also had very specific specializations in the Kyiv Commercial Court, which his judge’s profile testifies to. Thanks to these very specific specializations, consideration of the cases by very specific judges was secured. Furthermore, PGO is investigating this episode within the criminal proceedings, in which Yemelyanov was notified of suspicion and in which Boyko is acting as a witness.
Episode 2. Using his status, Judge Boyko satisfied his own interests or the interests of other individuals and entities – Aelita LLC, his spouse being its founder.
In 2010, the company, owned by Oksana Boyko, the wife of the judge, tried to privatize a historical building in the center of Kharkiv with an area of nearly 2,000 square meters. In 2009, the State Property Fund held a tender for the right of lease of this premise and announced a certain private firm Alla as the winner. Aelita LLC, the company of the judge’s wife, appealed the results of the tender in court and demanded a permission for privatization of the building.
The case was considered by the ‘home’ Kyiv Commercial Court, which passed the decision that Oksana Boyko sought – revocation of the results of the tender for the right of lease of the building. After that, Aelita LLC goes to the Kyiv Commercial Court again and files a claim against the State Property Fund seeking to reduce the determined price of privatization of the property. Who do you think opened the proceedings? Right, the husband of the claimant – Judge Roman Boyko.
First, he listed the case for hearing and them recused himself. In his explanation, the judge noted that he had to resolve the issue of opening the proceedings in the case and did not have a possibility to recuse himself at that stage. As a result of another judgment, Oksana Boyko privatized the building for UAH 6.5 million, which is nearly twice lower than its estimated value. In April 2015, the Supreme Commercial Court of Ukraine recognized the judgement as unlawful and revoked it. This conduct of the judge violated the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct.
Episode 3. Roman Boyko failed to declare his property, which is a liquid asset, in a timely manner, without a reasonable cause.
The judge did not declare corporate rights of his wife in his property declarations. Oksana Boyko is the founder of Intellect-A LLC and Intellect-B LLC. In the 2017 declaration and in the declarations for the previous years, the judge did not include these companies. Based on the stated facts, the Public Integrity Council made a conclusion on failure of the judge to meet the criteria of integrity and professional ethics.
However, this information about the corrupt schemes of Boyko is still not final. The names of Boyko and his family surface all over the place. His links to Artur Yemelyanov, including their regular meetings at ‘shadow offices’ are brought to light, as well as their joint membership in public organizations – specifically KOSTYANTYN YEMELYANOV CHARITY FOUNDATION, through which they syphoned money that they received for delivering illegal decisions. The expenses were used for the needs of the stakeholders.
There is also a criminal proceeding against POLTAVA-INTELLECT-SERVICE LLC, with Tetyana Boyko, the mother of the judge, being one of the co-founders. This company was involved in a criminal proceeding in 2014: in the period from June 2010 until December 2012, in the course of its financial and commercial transactions with a number of companies, POLTAVA-INTELLECT-SERVICE LLC evaded paying profit tax and value added tax for the total amount of UAH 884,000.
Allowing appointment of Roman Boyko to the position of Chief Justice of the Kyiv Commercial Court would lead to revival of all corrupt schemes.