Kyiv's Pechersk District Court on Monday, 22 January, refused to warrant the transfer of the property of the UMH group media holding over to the National Agency for Identification, Search and Management of Corruption Assets.
The assets have been seized within the criminal proceedings against the owner of the East-European Fuel and Energy Company (VETEK), Serhiy Kurchenko.
The Prosecutor-General's Office recognized all arrested immovable and movable property, securities, corporate rights and intellectual property rights of the media holding by the Prosecutor-General's Office as material evidence in criminal proceedings.
The PGO notes that the transfer of the holding's assets into the management of the National Agency is an objective necessity aimed to prevent the suspect to from further receiving illegal incomes and material benefits.
The court refused the Prosecutor-General's Office request, noting that the prosecutor did not provide evidence that confirm that the cost of the arrested property is more than 200 times the living wage (about 350 thousand hryvnia). The court also said that the PGO provided no evidence it has sought the owner's consent regarding the transfer if his assets into the Agency's management.
In addition, the court noted that securities, corporate rights and proprietary rights of intellectual property do not fall under the definition of physical evidence in criminal proceedings, since they are not material objects that can preserve traces of crimes.
Last December, the Pechersk court arrested property, shares and corporate rights of a number of companies of UMH group. In particular, the court seized the corporate rights of the company Ukrainian Media Group, LLC TRC Kyivski Vidomosti, Radіo Dovira, TV channel Kulіnarny Channel, LLC Bigmir Internet, LLC Bigmir Online, OOO Visti Ukrayiny, a subsidiary of Lounge FM, LLC Correspondent.
The court also warranted the seizure of PJSC Nashe Radio, PJSC KP in Ukraine, and PJSC KP Media.
In January last year, Kurchenko was arrested in absentia in Ukraine. He is wanted and lives in Russia.