17.06.2024 Kharkiv

How the “Servant of the People” Seized State Lands and Handed Kharkiv to Russia

In the third year of the full-scale invasion, it became clear that not all MPs are true “servants of the people.” The war has opened a window for large-scale embezzlement. Fortification, reconstruction, and shelters have become top areas where the political elite have already managed to pocket millions.

Andriy Odarchenko – a “Servant of the People” who turned out not to be much of a servant. The MP talked about “handing over” Kharkiv to the Russians and the utter uselessness of the city, along with “Donetsk, Luhansk, and Crimea.” Last year, he was caught attempting to bribe the head of the State Agency for Restoration and Infrastructure Development, Mustafa Nayyem. Odarchenko asked for help in allocating funds for the repair of an infrastructure object under his control. Notably, it was the first time in Ukrainian history that a bribe was offered in Bitcoin, equivalent to 50,000 USD.

Despite not only a corruption crime but also propagating Russian narratives, the court set Odarchenko’s bail at 15 million UAH, which the MP quickly paid to go back to earning bitcoins.

What Do We Know About Odarchenko?

He was the Dean of the Faculty of Trade and Customs Management at Kharkiv State University of Food Technology and Trade, and was elected Rector of the State Biotechnological University. Interestingly, he joined the latter after obtaining his parliamentary mandate, which contradicts the law. Although the formal duties of the rector were performed by an acting officer, Odarchenko maintained actual control.

With Odarchenko’s assistance, the State Biotechnological University paid a newly created firm 600,000 UAH for the creation of a website. This included the development of technical specifications for 120,000 UAH, design development for almost 80,000 UAH, and the direct creation of the internet portal for 374,000 UAH.

For a long time, the MP illegally leased university land plots at prices significantly below market value. Subsequently, all funds were successfully laundered and withdrawn through a series of family-controlled conversion centers. The money was then used to purchase luxury real estate somewhere in the EU or the USA, as local officials often do.

On November 23, 2023, the “Servant of the People” faction suspended and expelled Andriy Odarchenko from the party while the NABU investigation was ongoing. This decision was supported by all party members. Surprisingly, the servants only woke up after the case gained public attention and an audio recording was released where Odarchenko claimed he “did not believe in Kharkiv.”

Learn more about Odarchenko and the land distribution schemes of the State Biotechnological University in the video.

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