Lutsenko the Lobbyist?
It all began with the media being curious about Lutsenko’s recent vacation on Crete, where he stayed at a luxury hotel.
Responding to inquiries, Lutsenko stated that his household income, to which, he said, his wife, Iryna, had contributed as much as $100,000 last year, allowed him to do so. Ukrayinska Pravda decided to dig a little deeper.
After probing Lutsenko on his wife’s employment in a rather tense and uncooperative phone conversation, Ukrayinska Pravda learned that the firm that employs her as CFO is Українські новітні телекомунікації (Ukrainian Novel Telecommunications).
UNT turned out to be a family business run by Lutsenko’s close relatives, Yuriy and Olena Voskoboinikov, who hail from Lutsennko’s home oblast of Rivne. But wait until you hear this. Further investigation revealed that UNT, an auxiliary wireless service provider, may have profited from its ties to Lutsenko during his term as Minister of the Interior.
Several documents suggest that, as Minister of the Interior, Lutsenko may have assisted UNT in securing a contract with the Ukrainian government. It remains unclear, though, whether they actually made a deal.
UNT was supposed to boost communication capacity for law enforcement and to lower its costs, operating as an extension of MTS (then UMC), Ukraine’s second largest wireless company. The savings strategy appears to have extreme proportions: UNT does not have a Web site, nor does it have a decent office.
Damn it, Yura, is that true? If so, then we have a raging conflict of interest on our hands. Lutsenko, who ranks second in the pro-presidential NU-NS bloc, denied the allegation Thursday and accused Ukrayinska Pravda of character assassination. UP, in turn, welcomed Lutsenko to settle the issue in court.