Archive for April 6th, 2010

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New EU Schengen terms take effect

April 6, 2010

Well dear readers, yesterday, 5th April, the new Schengen Visa terms came into effect regarding short term visa’s.

The cost now for the average non-EU person is Euro 60.00………….unless you are from Ukraine, Russia or Molodova where is it Euro 35.00.

In April 2011, it seems a consolidated list of reasons to deny a Visa will be drawn up, thus ending the lottery which currently exists for the Ukrainian citizen.

http://euobserver.com/9/29815

Preferential treatment for these nations?  Probably…..but a lot of people I know won’t care about that!

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Kyiv Land Deals – The Transparency of Corruption

April 6, 2010

Well dear readers, this is a bit late in posting, but…….well it’s been Easter.

http://zik.com.ua/en/news/2010/03/31/223050

As you will see from the link, about 10 days ago, land documentation relating to land sales in Kyiv were stolen for the period 2006 – 2010 from the back of someone’s car in Kyiv.

This person subsequently turned out to be Petr Ivanov, a member of the political party of the Mayor of Kyiv whilst he was engaged on official duties relating to land sales and their scrutiny. 

Errrm yes, of course the last people wanting mand sales subjected to scrutiny in Kyiv is the City Administration of Kyiv and the Mayor.

No doubt any such scrutiny from external bodies would be about as welcome as a case of severe and odourous flatulance in a space suit as far as the Kyiv authorities are concerned.

When asked why he had taken all of the documents, the gentleman in question replied that did someone really expect him to sift through them and take only the ones he needed?

Well, I think many people would expect that to be the case actually Petr.  I don’t take all of my land documents with me when I am only selling one land plot or house to be honest……just in case I loose them or they are stolen.

Of course it is not a major issue to have them stolen, other than the complete bureaucratic nightmare of getting new replacement documents…..at least relating to the land and/or technical passports.  What will be almost impossible to replace is the original owners original agreement to sell it and that they are entitled to sell it etc etc.

There is also the concern that those in possession of the lost/stolen documents may try and use them to sell your asset from under you but this is far easier said than done…….as it involves “black notaries” and serious favours with the electronic land registry database in Kyiv.  This is not a cheap affair for the majority of people and in the cases of most people, such arrangements would cost more than the asset is worth several times over…….so dear readers, the chances of your apartment, house or land plot being stolen is really quite slim, despite the horror stories you read in the western press, unless you own prime real estate in central Kyiv which someone really, really wants regardless of cost to obtain it.

If they get to that stage, let them make you an offer and make some good money!

Anyway, back to the story of the stolen documents……..

Within a few days of them going missing, a story relating to corrupt land deals appears in the press…….hands up, who is surprised?

http://www.pravda.com.ua/articles/2010/04/2/4904510/

Yes dear readers the link is in Ukrainian.  The documents in question relate to a small island near Kyiv called Zhukov Island which has been acquired by dubious methods…….allegedly.

I will point out though dear readers, the documents shown in the article are not actually the documents of ownership as generated by the Kyiv Land Registry………but they do resemble documents which would be held for State owned property which normally decribe the size, use, position etc etc of the land and subsequent use/buildings present.

Having seen many such documents in my time here, they do have a resemblance to the real thing.  Further to that I will not comment.

In a queer quirk of fate, these documents published alledging wrong doing, are relating to the current party of power, the PoR and 2 of it’s members……and occured in the short period of time the current President was Prime Minister.

To put this into context though, none……rather strangely……..have yet appeared relating to the 4 years the current opposition were in power…….despite the fact they were in no way, shape or form any less corrupt…….as many in Kyiv will tell you first hand, be they Ukrainian or Expat.

In yet another strange quirk of fate, at the same time the documents were stolen, the entire membership of BYuT, the current opposition, resigned from positions in the Kyiv City Administration…….as you will be aware from a previous post where BYuT resignations from local and regional government was discussed.

Now would it be wrong of me to draw an assumptions from the simultaneous resignations of all BYuT people from the Kyiv City Administration at the time when these documents when missing?

Would I be wrong to draw assumptions that it is strange, only a few days later, the only publication of any alleged wrong doing relating to land in Kyiv over a 4 year period during which they were in power for 80% of the time was carried out by their political opposition?

Would I be wrong to think that the air is now tainted with the smell of scortched earth as they distance themselves from the Kyiv City Administration…….and all others nationally?

Why has there been no overt political condemnation from them over this “affair”?

Too soon to throw stones in a glass house maybe?  After all, just because the documents have been stolen does not mean they are lost for ever and not recorded elsewhere.

What now follows this theft? 

Do owners of land acquired either genuinely or through more opaque methods all have the same concerns that the onus of legitimate purchase and ownership falls on them to prove?

Is there going to be another land grab for the more prime locations in Kyiv with attempts to undermine the current owners?

Probably not as far as foreigners are concerned and very few were ever able to buy the prime locations.  For the Ukrainian elite be they famous or infamous, this may be a real concern…….although it is not likely to return to the 1990’s with……errrrm…….”hard acquisitions” occuring as the body count piles up………simply because it is contrary to the desires of the current government to sign the Free Trade Agreement this year and push forward on Visa-Free travel.

99.9% of people with quality assets in Kyiv, be they foreign or Ukrainian, will have nothing to fear.  The other 0.1% may want to cash in on their assets by way of selling them on before they end up losing them though.

We will see what “off market” assets get pushed under my nose to find buyers for, but I do not think there will be a major increase despite what  documents. compromising or otherwise,  may or may not have been stolen.  The vast majority of “off market” assets for sale which come my way are already owned by the political elite anyway, acquired during the oringinal 1990’s land grabs across Ukraine, which whilst legally owned (according to the law and documents……forget the morals of the acquisition) they prefer to sell “quitely”.

Indeed, if you have a few $million you want to spend in Ukraine on assets, do let me know. as regardless of location in Ukraine, the “off market” assets are always much better than those prostituted by every regular agent in the country.

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