A few months ago, this article’s author spoke with an influential official.
- I recently thought of renting a car and you know what was the first thing that came to my mind?
- What will I answer journalists, and in particular you, when you film me and ask what kind of car this is?
- The idea of checks and balances over power is a useful concept not only for society but also for the power itself. This is your failsafe, even though most don’t usually want to realise it.
- Can you guess my immediate thought after that?
- That you won’t film. That there will be no questions asked, so no need to answer. The country [after all] is under martial law.
(Due to the curfew and a number of martial law restrictions, it is currently almost impossible to control those in power - Ukrainska Pravda).
It was because of martial law that we decided to report this story.
In the editorial office of Ukrainska Pravda, there was a long professional discussion on this topic, which will be discussed further.
Finally, we agreed that the lifestyle of one of the most influential members of the presidential team does not fully correspond to the public standards set by the "martial law" in which this country has been living for the tenth month now.
Is it possible to choose a new car, from one of the most expensive brands in the world, as a means of transportation during the war and live amongst the richest people of the country?
Can the representatives of power in this country, a quarter territory lies already in ruins, live luxuriously?
And what is most prominent - are these advantages obtained in a transparent way, and not with the help of the power?
At the end of June, city cameras recorded a new 2021 Porsche Taycan in Kyiv.
The car was purchased on 8 June 2022, and on the 25th of the month, it was recorded seven times during the day by the cameras of the Safe City video surveillance system [Safe City project provides video footage of vehicles and pedestrians on the streets, and allows monitoring and management of utility services, police, and emergency services in cities]. It was seen driving on the Novoobukhivska and Staroobukhivska highways, next to the main residences of Ukraine’s millionaires - Koncha Zaspa, or officially - Kozyn.
The cost of this car on specialised websites is approximately 100,000 dollars.
On the next day, a Sunday, the car was again recorded by the cameras several times.
In one of the photos, taken at 16:00 in the urban-type village of Kozyn, we see a man behind the wheel, who very much resembles the deputy head of the President's Office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, with a woman in the passenger seat.
We then decided not to detract from the security of this official with added surveillance during a full-scale war. Therefore, we began to search for evidence without recording the movements of officials from the car.
The editors of Ukrainska Pravda however managed to obtain photos taken on other days with the Safe City system.
The next was taken on 9 July, again on a weekend, where the camera on the Stolychne highway captures a man behind the wheel again looking like Tymoshenko.
After a few hours, as the car is seen driving back, we again see a woman on the right side of the driver.
Then, on 17 July, the camera again captured a man who looks like one of the heads of the President's Office, once again on a Sunday morning.
Sometime later, a woman was seen driving the car, and the camera captured a man looking like Kyrylo Tymoshenko in the passenger seat.
On 23 July, a man who looks like Tymoshenko is driving again in the same area in the field of view of the cameras.
Then, already on 30 July, on Saturday afternoon, the camera captures the same man driving again. This time, the quality of the photo allows us to claim that it is Kyrylo Tymoshenko with his son.
You can also observe that there is a Kyiv City State Administration pass for the curfew period on the windshield of the car.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko was photographed driving the Porsche in August as well, in particular, on the 6th and 7th. It's also the weekend.
The car officially belongs to Novem Logistics LTD, which is registered in Kyiv at the address Parkova doroha, 16a. This is the address of the Parkovyi congress and exhibition center, where the Sluha narodu (Servant of the People) faction of the party regularly met until 24 February.
Vemir Davitian, a businessman, is the sole owner of the company.
Ukrainska Pravda sources in political and business circles call Davitian an informal curator from the authorities of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
A year ago, Ukrainska Pravda reported that Davitian pays visits to the President's Office, and is in regular contact with the head of the presidential faction in the parliament, Davyd Arakhamiia. Arahamiia and Davitian explained that their contacts are within the framework of friendship. However, then Davitian refused to explain who he was visiting in the Office of the President.
Could the expensive car have been purchased by Tymoshenko and registered to Davitian's company? Or did the businessman give the Porsche to the deputy head of the Office of the President for his free use?
Ukrainska Pravda reached out with these questions to both subjects of the article.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko replied that the car was not his and that he really received this car from Davitian for use 3-4 times, and then returned it several months ago.
Somehow though, the evidence published by the editors shows that there were at least twice as many "such times". The car did travel the same route on other days, but in those occasions the camera did not capture the driver's face.
Also, according to Ukrainska Pravda sources in the law enforcement agencies, the car disappeared from the cameras' field of view on occasion. For example, on 26 June at 16:18, a car was captured by cameras in the town of Kozyn, and the next capture took place already on 9 August in Kyiv at the intersection of Instytutska and Shovkovychna streets near the President's Office. This may indicate that the car might also have other license plates, or the cameras could not record the car for technical reasons.
The question arises, could Vemir Davitian give a new car to Kyrylo Tymoshenko for two months two weeks after the purchase?
In the comment to Ukrainska Pravda, Davitian said that he gave the car for a "test drive" because it didn’t click with him. On the materials available in the editorial office from the cameras of Safe City, Davitian was not recorded driving the Porsche even once.
Why should you join the Ukrainska Pravda Club?
Mykhailo Tkach, journalist of Ukrainska Pravda
Friends, join the Ukrainska Pravda Club to support journalism that leads to change and to contribute to providing society with unbiased information.
"eOselia" ("eHome) for 1000m2
At the beginning of the summer, not only the private but also the public life of Kyrylo Tymoshenko reached a new unexpected level.
Not for the first time since Tymoshenko got into a high office of power, he started posting photos and videos on social media from his jogging.
Attentive readers of Ukrainska Pravda immediately drew attention to this and recognised one of the top suburban settlements, popular among representatives of the Ukrainian elite.
We do not mention the name of the settlement for security reasons. For the same reasons, we do not disclose the new influential neighbours of Tymoshenko. Although, for general understanding, these are former formal and informal heads of the state and big businessmen.
Then, with the help of sources in political and business circles, we managed to discover where the deputy head of the president's office currently lives.
This is a property of almost 1,200 square metres with its own direct access to water. The mansion belongs to businessman Ihor Nikonov.
Nikonov is among the 100 richest people in the country, according to the Focus media outlet, and is considered one of the largest real estate developers of Kyiv.
In a comment to Ukrainska Pravda, Kyrylo Tymoshenko noted that he rents the property for security reasons, since his own residence is located in a high risk area due to frequent rocket attacks.
Tymoshenko also agreed to show the lease agreement concluded with Nikonov in July of this year.
According to the contract, the property is leased by the wife of Kyrylo Tymoshenko. And the rent is 230,000 hryvnias per month, which at the current exchange rate is about 6,000 dollars monthly.
The editors then consulted with experts in the real estate market for comparisons. We analysed comparable real estate rentals as well.
Based on the obtained data, it was possible to draw conclusions about the understated rental price of the property in this cottage town as of the summer of 2022.
According to experts, the average cost of renting houses of similar size in this cottage town can range from 10 to 25 thousand dollars. The condition of the property and the quality of the materials used in the decoration can affect the cost.
Tymoshenko is a public curator of the construction sector, and Nikonov's business is in this area. To the question about a possible conflict of interests, the deputy head of the Office of the President answered that Nikonov does not participate in state projects.
However, a few weeks after our conversation, a message appeared on the page of Nikonov's construction company that two residential apartment buildings of KAN Development had joined the state program "eOselia" - preferential housing loans.
Thanks to this program, Ukrainians of certain professions can buy apartments on credit for 20 years at a rate of 3%, and developers get the opportunity to sell apartments that, for obvious reasons, have hardly been sold since the beginning of the full-scale invasion by Russia.
The editors do not know whether the deputy head of the Office of President could influence the entrance of participation of the owner of the property, in which he lives, into the state preferential lending program.
But, it is obvious that all developers are currently in a difficult situation and to one degree or another need state participation, which means the participation of the authorities.
Why money if there is power
In a comment to Ukrainska Pravda, Tymoshenko added that he and his family have the official income to both rent the property and buy a Porsche if they decide to take this step as well. This agrees with the data of his previous declarations.
A month ago, our colleagues from Bigus.Info published a story about the fact that the deputy head of the Office of the President, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, uses a Chevrolet Tahoe as an official car. Such cars are not sold in Ukraine, but the American company General Motors handed over 50 cars to Ukraine for humanitarian purposes and the evacuation of people from the combat zone this spring. After the publication, Tymoshenko refused to drive this car.
Taking into account the story from Bihus.Info, Tymoshenko used the car previously in May of this year. It turns out that Tymoshenko, having sufficient funds himself to purchase his own cars, used the humanitarian Chevrolet Tahoe for official purposes over a six month time period and Vemir Davitian's Porsche Taycan 4S on weekends for at least two months.
At the same time, Tymoshenko and his wife, according to the data of his declaration for 2020, already owned a 2019 BMW X5, a 2017 Porsche Macan, and a 2014 Volkswagen Caravelle.
If among the heroes and readers of this story there are those who will say: now it is not the time to tell that the deputy head of the President's Office drives a new Porsche, we hope that these same people will be able to ask themselves at least one more question.
Is it time for the deputy head of the President's Office to drive a new Porsche?
Translation: Elina Beketova
Editing: David Matthews