Ukraine: Research Grant Provided By Company Linked To Prime Minister's Son

Published: 10 September 2013


A Vienna-based company formerly managed by MP Oleksiv Azarov, son of Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, granted an undisclosed sum of money to a proposed Ukrainian research center in Kyiv run by Harvard University.

Olesky Azarov, 42, held the position of managing director for Sustainable Ukraine in 2011, a limited liability company registered in the secretive Cayman Islands. He was elected to parliament in 2012.

Sustainable Ukraine was established in 2010 with an investment of €35,000 from Sprecht Assest Management Services, the company's sole shareholder. OCCRP research revealed that Sprecht is owned by S.A.L.E.M. Assets Holding. All three businesses are based in Vienna and owned by Cayman Islands registered DHC Limited.

It is not clear the provenance of the funds or how much was granted and Sustainable Ukraine provided no additional details regarding the seed money.

The proposed research center would be run by the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute.

The exploratory phase is headed by Kyiv Mohyla Academy Associate Professor Mykhailo Minakov who has taught at Harvard, and Natalia Sheiko, head of Sustainable Ukraine’s representative office in Kyiv, Minakov told the Kyiv post US$4 million is required for the project.

The Cayman Islands are notorious for financial secrecy, labeled the second most secretive jurisdiction after Switzerland in U.K.-based Tax Justice Network's Financial Secrecy Index.