How to become the owner of a luxurious office in the center of Odessa? It turns out that it is not necessary to pay the market price for the premises – it is enough just to have influential patrons and enough impudence to squeeze out real estate under the guise of rent. It is this scheme, according to the rightful owners, that the former wife of Deputy Minister Vaskov, Maria Kovylina, pulled off, writes Bagnet.
Details of the raider deal in Odessa figured out StopKora journalist Artem Polikovsky.
Odessa pensioner Vladimir Vlasyuk and his wife have been renting out premises on the street for many years. Gogol, 23. Once there were three apartments that belonged to the Vlasyukov family, combined into one. Nearby is the historical heart of the city, the port, the central streets, that is, the place is quite popular. Rental income is a significant financial boost for the two retirees.
“We rent it because pensions are small, I have a pension of 6,000 hryvnias, and my wife has 3,000 hryvnias. This is not enough for us, and therefore we are looking for tenants,” says Mr. Vladimir.
However, almost two years ago, an unpleasant story happened.
At the beginning of 2021, the previous tenants left the premises, and a new applicant appeared for it – business lady Maria Kovylina. However, already with a proposal not to rent, but to buy out the premises for next to nothing. The woman offered the owners an amount three times lower than the market value.
“This room is located in a house-monument of architecture, protected by the state, and at that time such premises were estimated at $ 1,000 per square meter. She offered for $ 400 – it did not suit me. I refused“, – says the pensioner.
As a result, the parties nevertheless agreed on the lease of the premises, but with the preliminary execution of repairs in it. The amount of 100,000 hryvnia was prescribed in the contract for repair work, which is compensated for by rent. However, according to Vladimir Vlasyuk, Maria did not start a redecoration at all, but a total reworking of the premises.
“I told her that we did not agree to do such repairs, especially since she deprived the residents of the entire house of access to the water supply. She didn’t like it, and she began to prevent my access to the office there. She told me: I do what I think is necessary“, – says Vlasyuk.
And then they decided to “throw” the legitimate owners in general.
According to the spouses, Maria Kovilina replaced the locks, hired the Antikiller security company and provided new documents for repair calculations. The figure of 100 thousand hryvnia, which was agreed upon at the beginning, suddenly increased by three and a half times and changed to 350 thousand.
The pensioners went to a security company and what they heard interested them. As it turned out, they didn’t sign a security contract, and a top official from Kyiv personally asked to deal with the issue of power support.
“My wife and I went to Antikiller and asked on what basis they took the premises under protection, because we did not sign a protection agreement with them. The director bluntly stated that Yuriy Vaskov, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, ex-husband of Kovylina, called him from Kyiv and asked for “help”: to take control of the premises“, – says Vlasyuk.
Does Maria Kovylina really have influential patrons?
At the same time, the pensioners began to receive threats from both the guards and Kovylina. The latter openly boasted that her “ex” was a deputy minister, and she could do whatever she wanted with someone else’s real estate. In addition, the woman demands a million hryvnias from the pensioners, which they allegedly offended her.
The editors of StopKor decided to check the information about the possible high connections of the raider.
“When monitoring registers, the first thing that caught our attention was the number of fines for traffic violations. Apparently, Kovylina loves to drive a car and often parks with violations. And indeed, according to the declarations that officials must submit, she is already the former wife of Deputy Minister for the Development of Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Yuri Vaskov, ”comments journalist Artem Polikovsky.
Who is Yuri Vaskov?
It should be noted that Yury Vaskov himself has repeatedly been in the focus of anti-corruption media investigations. During the time of Yanukovych, in 2013, Vaskov was appointed head of the State Enterprise “Ukrainian Sea Ports Administration” (AMPU). Then he actually took the state enterprise out of the control of the Ministry of Infrastructure, transferring it to Odessa.
And immediately after his appointment as Deputy Minister of Infrastructure in 2021, Vaskov allegedly began to arrange his odious godfathers for positions and provide them with proper working conditions.
But did the deputy minister really use the “telephone law” to help his ex-wife take possession of the premises in the center of Odessa? StopKor tried to contact Mr. Yuri by phone and via SMS, but by the time the investigation went on air, there was no response.
What else is Maria Kovyvlina known for?
Investigative journalists additionally decided to look for information about Kovylina and accidentally found her among the honorary members of the International Maritime Organization.
Her photo is posted on the page and the state position is indicated: Maria is allegedly the deputy head of the department of sea and river transport. However, Kovylina’s name is not on the website of the civil service in the “Management” section. And the most interesting thing is that there is no department with that name either.
StopKor decided to clarify this and other information directly from the heroine of the material, however, Ms. Kovylina refused to communicate with media workers.
Whether a woman really works in a fictional department and whether her ex-husband helps her with an office is an open question. The editors of StopKor have submitted additional requests to the Ministry of Infrastructure and are still waiting for a response. The litigation with the office turned into a judicial plane, and the Vlasyukovs sent an appeal to all regulatory authorities and continue to receive threats. So what will happen next.
Recall that the SBU recently detained activist Kristina Korol in Odessa, a maritime “anti-corruption activist”, probably involved in a multi-million dollar scam on issuing documents to sailors: Yuriy Vaskov may also be behind insider information on this deal.