Archive for August, 2012


Tranquility Odessa – Irisha

August 24, 2012


Serenity – Irisha

August 24, 2012


Flowers – Irisha

August 24, 2012


Odessa in bloom – Irisha

August 24, 2012


Old Odessa

August 24, 2012


Out of court settlements – Big business Odessa style

August 24, 2012

Out of court settlements as traditionally understood in the West have never really taken off in this part of the world.

Here things to to court, which may return a verdict based on the evidence.  Alternatively a court may return a verdict based on the highest bidder for whatever outcome is desired or indeed the desires of the local patriarchal system.

In a nutshell, depending upon your place in the social hierarchy, it may very well dictate what result you get from court in Ukraine.

However, if matters do not proceed to court, there is the traditional out of court settlement in these parts, which again depending upon your place in the hierarchy, may result in any number of extremely unpleasant occurrences.

Things can become very difficult in business for example.  The Tax authorities may take an overly zealous interest in you.  You may find it very difficult if not impossible to obtain the necessary licenses to carry out your business all of a sudden.  You may have a series of accidents varying in severity, and ultimately you may well receive a death sentence.

A death sentence would appear to be the latest out of court ruling in Odessa for one of its more prominent business people.

Sergei Brukvach, until 22nd August was the head of SM & Co in Odessa.  SM & Co are a reasonably well known construction company here.  They have built several upmarket buildings on some prime real estate land, including “Mercedes” in Shevchenko Park.

Now the purchase of land in such places as Shevchenko Park is not something available to just anybody.  For a start, to purchase land in Shevchenko runs into the multiple tens of millions US$.  Thus it is instantly cost prohibitive.  It also requires “knowing people” to insure you would get the plot at all.  There is then the planning and construction costs etc.

Not for the faint hearted and requiring the getting into bed with a very nefarious sort if you want to play in such a prime location with big money.

Anyway, after the success of the “Mercedes” complex S M & Co, with their backers seemingly went on to begin another complex called “Чудо-город” (Miracle City in English).  Here things seem to have come a little unstuck for S M & Co and in particular for Mr Brukvach to the point where he fell out with his criminal backers, allegedly owing them $500,000 and becoming part of an on-going criminal investigation.

So much so that he was put under special protection by the UBOP, a Ukrainian police unit tasked with tackling serious organised crime within Ukraine.

On 17th August that protection was mysteriously lifted, for reasons as yet unknown, and between 1800 and 1900 on 22 August, Mr Brukvach had been stabbed 13 times in the courtyard outside his office, with either a needle or an awl, which led to his death.

Indeed, as far as the murder weapon is concerned, the police may very well be looking for a needle in a huge haystack.

Needless to say, there will automatically be suspects in this case, and needless to say, it will be incredibly difficult to prove they ordered his killing as they certainly won’t have done it personally and no doubt will be alibied 100 times over.

The ultimate out of court settlement?  It seems quite likely in this case.


Osmayev seeks asylum in Ukraine

August 23, 2012

Quite topically, I mentioned Adam Osmayev in a recent post relating to Russian opposition activists seeking asylum in Ukraine only a week ago.

As is quite apparent, if you know anything about Mr Osmayev’s case, he is not really a standard asylum seeker.  After all, not many asylum seekers in Ukraine have actually managed to blow up a rented apartment with a home made explosive device assembled in preparation for an assassination attempt (whether it be on Mr Putin as claimed, or somebody else), here in Odessa.

As I wrote last week, I didn’t expect Mr Osmayev to be extradited back to Russia despite his appeal against extradition at the courts of Odessa being denied, as it was quite obvious that appeals to the ECfHR would follow and as such Ukraine would stay his extradition.

That stay of extradition to Russia has now been confirmed, much to the surprise of the Ukrainian media it seems, despite due process and the appeals system preventing the immediate extradition as well known to anybody with the slightest awareness of international extradition law.

That said, maybe the surprise is not that the media didn’t know the law and expected due process, but that they are surprised Ukraine is abiding by them.

Anyway, as I wrote, he has appealed to the ECfHR and he has also, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ukraine, now asked Ukraine for asylum.

That makes him a very rare case whereby he could, if asylum is granted by Ukraine, go to prison here for the offences he committed in Odessa.  Namely “The creation of a terrorist organisation (with the other two men involved) under Article 258-3, and plotting a terrorist attack under Articles 14 and 258 of The Criminal Code of Ukraine respectively.  For good measure, Article 263 covers the illegal treatment of weapons, ammunition and explosives – before we think about any criminal conspiracy under the said Code.

In fact a creative prosecutor could come up with about a dozen offences.

Anyway, even though the ECfHR will not have even begun to assess his case regarding extradition yet, the fact he has now officially applied for asylum adds another spanner into the works relating to his extradition back to Russia, for his application for asylum must now be heard and quite possibly appealed if initially refused.

I do wonder though, just what benefits ultimately lay with being granted asylum in Ukraine as far as he is concerned.  Whether in prison here or not when eventually released, Mr Osmayev will remain well within the reach of a vindictive Russia if Russia truly wants its pound of flesh from him.

After all, Mr Osmayev and co-conspirators allegedly all came to Odessa to plot and prepare for their nefarious deed, no different to the Russian criminal class who come here to take sanctuary within the ranks of the Odessa criminal class when things get too hot in Russia.

Anybody who knows anything about the criminal class here knows that it is very fluid and often  works quite autonomously amongst itself unless there is a need for unity.  That necessarily dictates that Mr Osmayev will never be safe in Ukraine as he will never know who is friend and who is foe.

Quite possibly, extradited or not, or granted asylum or not, he may very well just be delaying his fate at the hands of Russia if the decision is made to pursue him by fair means and he be returned, and most likely foul should he stay in Ukraine.

A fact that probably has not escaped him to be honest.

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