20.06.2024 Kharkiv Money laundering

Cash withdrawals through a poultry farm and the battle for inheritance: Mykhailo Dobkin and the path to power

Михайло Добкін – обіцянки народного депутата » Слово і Діло

Mikhail Dobkin, or Misha “boring face,” gained media fame in 2007 when a video of the politician’s election campaign video was leaked online. It is replete with profanity and rather cynical statements. Kharkiv Mayor Mykhailo Dobkin and his phrases about the text being “a little bit moronic” became memes. The politician himself said that the video was “partially edited”.

In general, Dobkin’s political and personal path is full of dubious moments: there was embezzlement of budget funds on a particularly large scale, a battle for his father’s inheritance and abuse of his last wife, and even a fight for a poultry farm. Therefore, we propose to analyze Mykhailo’s thorny path to the present deaconate.

Acquisition of the epicure, cooperation with the Russian Federation and budget cashing in

The Dobkin family has long been involved in the chicken market. Back in the 2000s, Mykhailo Dobkin’s father, Mark Moiseevich, was engaged in importing chicken meat from the United States. At that time, he used special family business schemes, including importing products to certain cities in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, which then had the status of zones with a special tax regime. After the goods passed through these tax-exempt zones, the chicken was sold in Dobkin’s stores at market price.

With his experience in the chicken market, Mark Dobkin quickly responded to Kharkiv businessman Oleksiy Kovalenko’s proposal to start his own business. The idea was to produce chicken according to modern technologies and standards, without the use of antibiotics, growth stimulants and other harmful additives.

Mark Dobkin Sr. and Oleksiy Kovalenko founded Volodymyr-Volyn Poultry Farm, whose shares were distributed as follows: Mark Dobkin received 66% and Oleksiy Kovalenko received 34%. At the very beginning, they agreed that Kovalenko would be in charge of business development and management, while Mark would be just an investor. That’s how the well-known Epicur brand was born.

Things were going well. However, in 2016, Mark Dobkin passed away. His son, Mikhail, became his heir. Oleksiy Kovalenko immediately offered Mikhail to sell his father’s share, as he saw no prospects for cooperation with him. And he was right. Mikhail immediately began to interfere in all business processes, destroying a successful business.

Moreover, Mykhailo Dobkin began selling the factory’s products in the LPR, creating a special “Volodymyr-Volyn Trading Company” registered in Kharkiv and appointing a resident of the Luhansk People’s Republic as its director. To make the trade more successful, the factory created another brand, Chebaturochka.

Having established an uninterrupted supply of chicken to the temporarily occupied territories, Mykhailo Dobkin began using feed from a feed mill in occupied Lutuhyne (Luhansk People’s Republic) for the Volodymyr-Volyn Poultry Farm. The funds received by the plant from Dobkin and from the sale of chicken were used to support the Luhansk People’s Republic.

Oleksiy Kovalenko did not want to put up with such business practices on the part of Mikhail Dobkin and terminated the license of Volodymyr-Volynska Poultry Farm, prohibiting the use of the Epikur brand. However, these actions were completely ignored by Dobkin, who continued to use the Epicur brand and sell chicken in violation of the law. Since the termination of the license, Oleksiy Kovalenko has not exercised any control over the products, and all the norms and standards that had been implemented at the factory for years are no longer observed. The brand is being exploited illegally.

But the story did not end with cooperation with the L/DNR. Currently, with the help of Lutsk Agrarian Company and Volodymyr-Volyn Poultry Farm, Dobkin is actively legalizing his ill-gotten gains. He declares false information on income and VAT accrual, and enters into fictitious contracts.

When analyzing the tables of tax credit and tax liability, we found that LUTSKA AGRARIAN COMPANY Limited Liability Company bought and sold goods and services to itself. For example, companies with the names Baltnetos komunikacijos (Latvia), SIA TET (Latvia), Testmer Warszawa (Poland), EvoniK Operations GmbH (Germany), which in the tables of tax credit and tax liability of LUTSKA AGRARIAN COMPANY, having the same EDRPOU code as the latter (namely, 39910709), allegedly provided services to the company for a total amount of UAH 1,800,456.55.

In addition, with the help of Dobkin’s Volodymyr-Volyn poultry farm, officials of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration almost managed to embezzle UAH 15 million, which were supposed to be used to buy humanitarian aid for Kharkiv residents.

According to our materials, the Territorial Office of the State Bureau of Investigation in Kramatorsk registered the case in the Unified Register of Pre-trial Investigations under 62023050010003839, part 2 of Article 366 of the Criminal Code. For some reason, however, the investigation ended at the first stage.

Will you do anything for money?

Mikhail Dobkin has a half-brother, Anatoly. He was born in 2012 to Dobkin’s father Mark and his common-law wife Maria Shcheka.

After his father’s death, the question of inheritance arose, and his little half-brother Anatoly, according to Ukrainian law, like his older brothers, could claim it. And then Mikhail Dobkin seems to have taken despicable steps: he decided to have his father’s common-law wife recognized as an incapacitated alcoholic in court in order to gain custody of his brother, and thus continue to control his father’s inheritance.

In order to achieve his goal, Dobkin filed a lawsuit. At the time, Maria was living in Russia. But when she returned to Kharkiv, an ambulance came to her house and took her to a psychiatric hospital on an unknown call that was not made by her family.

Maria Shcheka was taken to court directly from the psychiatric hospital. The woman did not react to external stimuli and was very inert. At the same time, two hours before the hearing – before she was taken from the hospital, according to her relatives, Maria looked absolutely adequate. Such changes in behavior raised a lot of questions and suspicions, in particular about malicious intent towards her.

In 2019, the Dzerzhynskyi District Court of Kharkiv (case No. 638/11349/18) ruled to take the child away from Maria (without deprivation of parental rights) and transfer custody of the baby to Mykhailo Dobkin. The mother was obliged to pay child support to her son until he reached the age of majority. In 2019, Dobkin’s half-brother Anatoliy changed his name to David.

Thus, Dobkin achieved what he wanted and got his little brother’s share.

Law enforcement officials were also interested in the strange machinations around the elder Dobkin’s inheritance. However, thanks to agreements in the highest offices of the SBU and the National Police, Mykhailo got away with it. And the proceedings were “downgraded” to the level of local law enforcement, where the investigation simply stopped.

Where is Dobkin now?

This is a rhetorical question. Some say they saw him in Kharkiv as a deacon, while others assume that Mykhailo has long since left Ukraine. The latter version sounds true, because almost the entire Dobkin family has long lived abroad. Marko, Mykhailo’s nephew, is in jail in Warsaw with Alla Dobkina’s ex-husband and former politician Hurevych. The Solopykhins are friends of the Dobkins, who are still doing business with Russia, producing clothes in Kharkiv, and now outside Ukraine.

A sweet life with a not-so-sweet backstory.

Learn more about each of the former members of Kharkiv’s elite in the video.

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