Former MP Onyshchenko sentenced in absentia to 15 years in NABU "gas case".
Oleksandr Onyshchenko (screenshot from video recording)

On Friday, April 5, the High Anti-Corruption Court announced a verdict in absentia to former Ukrainian MP Oleksandr Onyshchenko in the so-called NABU gas case. He received 15 years of imprisonment.

Onyshchenko's financial director Olena Pavlenko was sentenced to 12 years in prison in absentia.

Onyshchenko's charges

Onyshchenko is accused of organizing an illegal gas resale scheme in 2013-2016. According to the investigation, PJSC UkrGasVydobuvannya, Ukraine's largest gas producer, suffered losses of UAH 740 million ($18.9 million), and the state budget sustained a shortfall of over UAH 2 billion ($51.2 million) in revenue.

During the investigation NABU established that during January 2013 – January 2016, the state company UkrGasVydobuvannya concluded several unprofitable contracts with private enterprises. Intermediaries were also involved in the process – commodity exchanges, which set low prices for gas.

For example, while the market price of gas was UAH 7,057.51 ($181) per thousand cubic meters, exchanges sold it at a price of UAH 2,640 ($68) to certain companies. After that, the winners of the stock market auctions sold gas, but already at a price of UAH 6,900 ($177) per thousand cubic meters.

The difference between the cost of gas for the intermediary and the price at which gas was purchased by enterprises in the real sector of the economy was transferred to the accounts of private individuals through fictitious companies. They did it mainly in cash.

The investigation established that the entire chain of intermediaries, starting from the participants in the contracts and ending with the winners of the tenders, was under the control of MP Oleksandr Onyshchenko.

On July 5, 2016, the Verkhovna Rada approved the criminal prosecution, detention and arrest of MP Onyshchenko. At the time of the vote, the lawmaker had already fled abroad.

The Onyshchenko gas case is one of the largest NABU proceedings. The investigation identified three dozen members of Onyshchenko's group, a significant part of them have already been found guilty (the guilty verdict against them has entered into force), three people including Onyshchenko are wanted.

In 2020, Germany arrested Onyshchenko at the request of NABU and SAPO, but refused to extradite him, as the conditions of Ukrainian prisons allegedly do not meet the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights. After that he left for Russia.

In October 2021, Onyshchenko received a Russian passport. Now he represents the Russian equestrian team.