Meet new head of Asset Recovery and Management Agency — Olena Duma

The competition for the position of Asset Recovery and Management Agency head took place on Wednesday. According to its outcome, Olena Duma was elected as the head of the Agency.

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Before the competition, the G7 countries issued a joint statement that they expect a "person of high integrity and professionalism" to be the head of ARMA.

LIGA.net found out how Olena Duma meets the criteria of the G7 countries.

Initially, the Asset Recovery and Management Agency was created as an agency that would search for and confiscate the criminally acquired assets of Yanukovych's team and his entourage.

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Since 2022, ARMA has been actively working on the confiscation of assets related to Russia and Belarus. In reality, during the time after the full-scale invasion, ARMA turned into a large holding company. The agency has appointed managers to oversee its assets with little external oversight. As a result, managing these assets has become a lucrative opportunity the agency's managers.

Scandals in public service and political activity

So who headed this state holding? Olena Duma started her career as a lawyer in various private companies. Then she joined the civil service. During her career, she was an adviser to the Minister of Environmental Protection. Then she was the deputy head of the legal department in the same ministry.

She worked in the Ministry of Agrarian Policy, the Social Insurance Fund, the State Registration Service and the Apparatus of the Verkhovna Rada.

Duma worked at the Social Insurance Fund from January to May 2020. She was fired "due to numerous established facts of gross violation of legislation on labor and mandatory state social insurance." She tried to challenge this decision in court, but lost the appeal. To defend her position in the media, Duma turned to the TV channel Zik, which belonged to pro-Russian politician and oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk at the time.

Her last place of work in the civil service in 2021 was the Chernihiv Oblast State Administration, where she was the deputy head of the regional administration. Anna Kovalenko, the wife of Ruslan Khomchak, Chief of the General Staff and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in 2019-2021, was the head of the State Administration at that time.

Together with Anna Kovalenko, Olena Duma worked in the NGO Anti-Corruption Movement of Valentyn Nalyvaichenko. Duma was its active participant, and Kovalenko was its co-founder.

Олена Дума та Анна Коваленко (Фото: Facebook Олени Думи)
Olena Duma and Anna Kovalenko (Photo: Facebook of Olena Duma)

Valentyn Nalyvaichenko is currently a Batkivshchyna MP. He previously headed the SBU and was a member of parliament from the UDAR party of Vitali Klitschko. Before the last elections, he concentrated on creating his own political project — the Justice party. Duma also took an active part in it.

While engaged in party activities, in 2018 she worked as the director of the Department of State Property Management and Public Relations of the Ministry of Ecology. By this, she violated the requirements of the laws "On civil service" regarding political impartiality (item 8, part 1, article 4, article 10), "On prevention of corruption" regarding political neutrality (article 40) and impartiality (article 41).

Anna Kovalenko ran in the general election from Servant of the People and worked in the Office of the President before her stint in Chernihiv Oblast.

Press conference with Giuliani's aide

The biggest claims against Duma are made because of her participation in 2019 in a press conference together with Sam Kislin, who is a financial donor of Rudolph Giuliani. Kislin is associated with Donald Trump. It was because of him allegedly that the scandal surrounding Mykola Zlochevskyi's Burisma and the son of the current US president Joe Biden was unfolding.

In 2016, Kislin bought Yanukovych's Cypriot offshore company with a large amount of seized money in the accounts – $1.5 billion. Since then, Kislin has tried to appropriate this money for himself.

The anti-corruption organization Transparency International hints at the connection of Olena Duma with the ex-chief of the Crimean SBU department, suspected of high treason, Oleh Kulinich. Supposedly, she could have promoted his interests in Chernihiv Oblast.

Duma herself rejects any accusations against her, calls on everyone to "stop and not execute dirty orders against her for $100."