Catch me if you can

How former head of Lviv Regional State Administration managed to seize 11 hectares of land in Lviv
08 June 2023

Former head of Lviv Regional State Administration Yurii Turianskyi managed to seize a huge land plot of 11 hectares on the western outskirts of Lviv through machinations and forgery of documents. According to NGL’s estimate, market value of such a land plot exceeds 80,000,000 hryvnias. However, Turianskyi, who is a head of Lviv department of National Olympic Committee, didn’t pay a dime for it.

How did he manage to pull it through?

What everything started with

Back in 1982, Pustomyty town council of people’s deputies through their decision gave an 11 hectares land plot to the State transport enterprise No.2207 of Lviv regional administration of freight motor transport of the USSR for permanent use. With time, as a result of the city expansion, the land ended up in the western outskirts of Lviv, near the ring road.
The state enterprise has been using this land for many years, so all the utility systems the transport workers needed were connected to the plot.

Following the collapse of the USSR and declaration of independence, transport enterprise No.2207 declined, like many similar ones, and the destiny of 11 hectares of land in Koniushynna street remained indeterminate.

In late 1990s an Open Joint-Stock Enterprise «Lvivske ATP 24654» was created on the basis of the former state enterprise, and more than 100 people became its stockholders. The company continued using part of the area and non-residential facilities of the liquidated transport enterprise. The remaining real estate started finding new owners.

Officially, the plot in Koniushynna street remained unregistered, and Lviv city council wasn’t in a hurry to register the communal right of property, despite having every legitimate reason. Still, in 2005 part of the land was registered as a separate plot and leased to a Danish company «Selskabet Sverigesvej 22, Skanderborg ApS». At the same time, the resolution of the city council says that OJSC «Lvivske ATP 24654» consented to allocation of the land plot, considering themselves a legal successor of the former soviet transport enterprise.

Viktoriya Marynchuk, former director of the Danish company «Selskabet Sverigesvej 22, Skanderborg ApS» told NGL that the allocated plot was used for the timber processing enterprise. Problems with Yurii Turianskyi started soon after manufacture was launched. Back then he was just a businessman with a shady reputation and a member of supervisory board of OJSC «ATP 24654». «He was blocking our electricity supply and was trying to do harm in any way he could. We were trying to solve the issue in a neighborly way, but we failed,» says Marynchuk.

In 2014 the Danish company suspended its production for a number of economic reasons, including the inflated price of electricity. It was that year that Yurii Turianskyi became the head of Lviv State Regional Administration. The media started taking interest in him and found some curious details. Businessmen working in the same field with Turianskyi weren’t unflattering about him even back then, to say the least. His reputation didn’t improve in the recent years.

First success of Turianskyi The new head of Lviv oblast started his career by winning the tender Why do businessmen speak badly of Turianskyi?

Перший успіх ТурянськогоНовий керівник Львівської області розпочав свою роботу з перемоги на тендеріWhy do businessmen speak badly of Turianskyi??

So, the conflict with the Danish company ended with «Selskabet» moving from Koniushynna street after long-standing litigation, and Turianskyi received its buildings and land in exchange for a land plot in Kamianka-Buzkyi district. Viktoriya Marynchuk believes that under that situation the company was lucky to receive «at least something». «However, we never resumed the production», she recollects.

Some part of real estate in Koniushynna street have been owned by a pharmaceutical company PE «Edel» that was dealing in herbal medicinal products. However, in 2013 the company announced its bankruptcy, and part of its real estate was transferred into the ownership of JSC «International Investment Bank» as the part of security.

Back then Turianskyi came to the bank with a proposal to buy or exchange all the real estate – this referred to three industrial-purpose buildings. «He personally came to Kyiv multiple times to conduct negotiations. As of February 2019 an agreement was reached to exchange the real estate objects with additional payment to the Bank which was supposed to be the equivalent of $111,100 on the day of agreement». That’s how the bank’s position was set forth in one of the court rulings, as the case was never solved amicably.

According to the bank’s representative, soon Turianskyi started naming different figures and changing the conditions. And one day he just stated he didn’t need to negotiate about the property purchase, because he already owned it.

«On 04 October 2019 he called demanding to immediately vacate the buildings located on the territory of the object belonging to the bank. When asked to provide the basis for this demand, he was insisting he’s been the owner for a long time. He refused the request to provide deeds of title to support these words», read the case materials.

While disputes with companies based in Koniushynna street were ongoing, Yurii Turianskyi already became the sole beneficiary owner of OJSC «Lvivske ATP 24654». In 2019 this company’s name was changed into ALC «Lvivska Avtokolona No.2207», just copying the name of the soviet state enterprise. To enhance the claims to the legal succession, the reference to that was even included into the private company’s charter.

Property games

Despite the fact that Turianskyi never became an owner of the three buildings belonging to the JSC «International Investment Bank», he managed to register in his name the four adjacent buildings which used to belong to the PE «Edel» and which the bank still keeps trying to return. In July 2019 Yurii Turianskyi with the help of a private notary Khrystyna Kuibida-Kryshkevych (died in 2020) registered this property in his name. More precisely, LLC «Novodim Servis» (formerly CJSC «ZakhidVuhillia») belonging to Yurii Turianskyi became a new owner of the bank’s premises.

The right of property was registered on the basis of sale and purchase agreement presumably concluded back in 2003 with PE «Edel».

It’s now known that this agreement had the signs of counterfeiting. It was indicated in expert examination conducted as a part of the criminal investigation.

«Impression of the seal in the agreement and certificate presented for examination dated 17 March 2003 were made not in the same date that they were dated, but considerably later», reads the expert examination report that NGL has in its possession.
Moreover, the four buildings that Turianskyi’s company presumably bought from PE «Edel» 20 years ago didn’t exist back then. It is supported by the data from Google Earth Pro service. The photo proved that they aren’t there even in 2005. According to the satellite picture, two buildings were erected between 2006 and 2007, and two more – as late as in 2012. So, Turianskyi’s company couldn’t have bought them in 2003.

Despite «International Investment Bank» still being in litigation, soon after registering the ownership «Novodim Servis» resold the buildings to Turianskyi personally and he entered them into statutory capital of his company, «Lvivska Avtokolona No.2207»
This step-by-step sale of property between the own companies is often used to imitate the legality of the real estate acquisition, a lawyer Yevhen Vorobiov explained NGL. «It is an attempt to give a veneer of legality to the acquisition, so that in future the potential buyers wouldn’t be able to investigate or pay attention to how the property was privatized. Actually, the resale helps to cover various manipulations with property», says Yevhen Vorobiov.

«He’s a raider»

Owning estate property gives the right to receive the land plot for use. So, Yurii Turianskyi managed to register the land of the former soviet enterprise in his name, if with forged documents. However, another problem existed: there was one more land plot of 0.99 hectares within the first one. The city council leased it to «Selskabet» in 2005.

Most likely, in order to solve this problem, the address of that plot in the land cadaster was simply changed from 28 Koniushynna street to 53 Medovoi Pechery street – it’s the opposite outskirts of Lviv. At the same time, a registered land plot already existed at the new address, which means that the registrar of the State Land Cadaster intentionally laid two land plots with different cadaster numbers over one another.

Regardless of the obvious substitution, the Chief Administration of State Land Cadaster in Lviv oblast stated to NGL that they knew nothing about the change of address. The Central Office of State Land Cadaster in Kyiv also failed to produce any explanations in response to NGL’s request.

«International Investment Bank» still managed to sell these three buildings in 2022 to a well-known garbage disposal company from Lviv «GreenEra Ukraine» that set a repair workshop for its garbage trucks there. Turianskyi didn’t like the new neighbours either.

Bohdan Mykhalus, owner of «GreenEra Ukraine» told NGL that Turianskyi is actively interfering with his company’s work and repeatedly suggested to talk about sale or exchange of the premises in Koniushynna street. Still, it wasn’t constructive.
«He’s a raider and keeps creating trouble… We had a meeting and explained him the situation, and he said he would give us his proposal. After this he sent down State Emergency Service and State Labour Service of Ukraine with inspections and filed a lawsuit against us. The inspections found nothing, but it hardly looked like a cooperation on his part, to say the least,» said Mykhalus about his relationship with Turianskyi.

Presently «GreenEra Ukraine» company owns three buildings with total area of almost 3,000 sq. m, on the land plot which Yurii Turianskyi believes to be his and is suing his company, though unsuccessfully, to evict it from the territory he received as a result of manipulations and forgery of documents.

Turisnaskyi needs «GreenEra»’s buildings to get legal grounds for privatization of the entire land plot of 11 hectares. Registering the ownership of the land which contains another company’s property is legally impossible.

How impossible became possible

On 23 March 2023 a private notary Liudmyla Volynska registered the land of former transport enterprise into communal property of Lviv city council – though they knew nothing about that, as it turned out later. Only 9.4 hectares were registered from the actual area of 11 hectares, as the remainder was «moved» to Medovoi Pechery street earlier. Following the registration of the land plot, Liudmyla Volynska handed it over to Yurii Turianskyi’s ALC «Lvivska Avtokolona No.2207» for permanent use.
The state register indicates that the notary registered the land plot on the basis of the documents from 1982 about transferring this land to State transport enterprise No.2207 for permanent use.

In response to NGL’s request, representatives of Lviv city hall informed they knew nothing either about registration of communal ownership of this plot, nor about its being handed over to Turianskyi’s company for use. «The registration of the right of communal property for the territorial community of Lviv city council took place without any relevant decision about allocation or formation of this land plot. Lviv city council is conducting legal analysis of the grounds for formalizing and registering a land plot of 9.4433 hectares», – reads the written response from the legal department of the city council.

The lawyers NGL interviewed believe that proving Turianskyi’s abuse in this case wouldn’t be easy. Ukrainian legislation has a number of gaps supporting such «legal» raiding. For instance, under the Civil Code, «in case of transformation the new legal entity shall receive all property, rights and responsibilities of the former legal entity». At the same time, the Land Code states that the right of use for a land plot is terminated in case of termination of a legal entity activity. That was the argument given in a court ruling dated back to 2010 which reads that Yurii Turianskyi’s company has to rights to the land belonging to the liquidated soviet transport enterprise.

At the same time, interfering with the work of state land cadastre and forgery of documents which made all of it possible, constitutes an obvious violation of the law, which should result in criminal liability.

NGL journalist has been trying to receive Yurii Turianskyi’s comment about this situation for several weeks. He refused both a telephone interview and a personal meeting. We also sent him the list of questions though a messenger. He read them, but didn’t answer.

According to State Land Cadaster, the estimated value of the city land seized by Turianskyi is 47,500,000 hryvnias. However, if we compare proposals in the market with similar location, the real price can approximate 80,000,000 hryvnias.