The former dean of the National Tax University in Irpin (Kyiv oblast) was arrested in July 2013, allegedly while receiving a bribe of 120 thousand UAH. He was placed under house arrest on Aug 1 that year, but escaped, after removing his electronic bracelet. He was in hiding in the USA until April 1, 2014 when he was arrested at Boryspil Airport on his arrival from London. The initially hefty 30 million UAH bail was reduced by the court to 600 thousand UAH and Melnyk was released from custody soon after that second arrest.
Melnyk was tried by the Irpin City Court, in the same town where he has business interests. The trial dragged on for an entire year and ended in his acquittal on July 9, 2015, with the court finding that there was ‘not enough proof’ that the 120 thousand UAH he was alleged to have received was not a ‘donation’.
In short, Petro didn’t have to run away at all! Acquittal was waiting for him all the time in his neighborhood court.
The acquittal was eventually overturned, though nothing bad has happened to Petro, who is busy selling off all of his university’s buildings to his family. He was just acquitted of that, too.
A court in the Kyiv oblast has acquitted Petro Melnyk, the former Head of Ukraine’s National Tax Service University, finding “no proof of a crime” in Melnyk’s sale of four buildings belonging to the university to a company founded by his wife, son and father-in-law.
… While finding that “the university” had sold the four pieces of real estate to the ‘Inter-regional Finance and Law Academy’ with infringements of procedure for selling state property, the court declined to find Melnyk himself guilty of embezzlement or squandering of property through abuse of his official position (Article 191 § 5 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code). It rejected the prosecution’s assertion that the property had been knowingly under-priced and said it had seen no proof that Melnyk had himself, or via others, had any influence on the price. This is despite accepting that the initiative to sell the property had come from Melnyk as the Dean. The argument was that the sale was agreed “by an organized conference of the staff unanimously”. Melnyk in court denied that he had known during the tender that the company founded by his wife and son was seeking to buy the property.
The court also rejected a civil suit brought by the university for compensation of 33,44 million UAH damages.
This is the value that the investigation established the properties were worth. Melnyk’s relatives paid only a third of that price – 10,87 million UAH.
The four large pieces of property were sold in 2007-08 by auction to the ‘Inter-regional Finance and Law Academy’, whose founders include Melnyk’s wife Tetyana Melnyk; his son Maksym and father-in-law Volodymyr Shcherban. Melnyk’s nephew Roman Melnyk ran the company.
Virtually all the items of property were subsequently let to the university.