Interview with Mr. Yuri Sidorenko, founder of the International Group TRUSTCOR and Chairman of the EDAPS Consortium Advisory Council.

Bagnet has announced your interview after the publication about crimes involving personal information of Ukrainian citizens including yours. What is your take on this situation? Could you say how the investigation of this crime has progressed?

Certainly. I can say that to date the investigation has practically identified all persons involved in this crime. The mechanism of the crime has been completely revealed. The chief government officials ofUkraineinvolved in organizing the crime have also been detected. Now, to the best of my knowledge, the perpetrators responsible for these machinations are being tracked down as we speak.

Please, explain.

When the EDAPS Consortium began cooperating with INTERPOL we were amazed that INTERPOL database lists 75 thousand stolen Ukrainian old type travel passports with a pasted in photo. This figure just shocked us. It instantly showed that fraud that was at the heart of the actions taken by the persons who fought and are still fighting with the EDAPS Consortium. I will name them a little later. As soon as Mr. Yekhanurov became Prime-Ministerhe signed a Resolution No 398-r (of September 14, 2005, see photo of the document –Editor)by which he demanded immediate manufacture of blanks of travel passports with pasted in photos and their further transfer to the Embassy of Ukraine in Moldova. I don’t know if Mr. Yekhanurov knew exactly what he was signing but those involved in this resolution deliberately tried to bring those passports out of legal document circulation. Among them were Mr. Nikolai Maymeskul (official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs); Mr. Sergei Silkin (former member of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, member of the Parliament administration at the moment the crime was committed), who prepared the resolution; Mr. Sergei Kiyanichenko (former director of the State Enterprise Print Works UKRAINA and a “social activist” who managed to be part of all leading political parties of Ukraine) who followed up all these processes.

Please, specify why supplying the Embassy ofUkraineinMoldovawith travel passports blanks was illegal.

According to Yekhanurov’s resolution 50 thousand old passport blanks were shipped to the Ukrainian Embassy. It was supposed that the documents would be issued to Ukrainian citizens permanently residing inMoldova. The official request was sent to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Moldova.The Minister gave an official response (see photo of the document –Editor)that only 2550 Ukrainians officially reside in theterritoryofMoldova. As you can see, this is far less than 50 thousand. Therefore, there were 20 times more travel passports in the Embassy than it was required. Besides, it is quite possible that a large number of travel passports blanks remained from before. Moreover, it is important to remember that not all Ukrainians residing inMoldovaneeded to change their passports urgently as they could not leave the country with expired documents.

What happens with the so called “extra” passports? Afterwards, they are declaredlost and in fact they disappear from databases of both the Ministries of Internal and Foreign Affairs. The information concerning the loss of these passports is immediately handed to INTERPOL. In the meantime, according to mass media anyone could buy an old type Ukrainian travel passport inMoldovaat that time. The readymade document with a holder’s name cost 5000 USD at the black market. Do you get the point?

Do you think this is the way how a person travelling around the world and committing crimes under your name appeared?

I think, yes. It doesn’t matter where this person could get a fake passport. What really matters is that Ukrainian officials intentionally or unintentionally allowed the sale of passport documents. Further on, some criminal received my personal data with documents. The information was precisely copied: place of birth, name and patronymic, surname, month of birth. The only difference is the year of birth: mine is 1961 and the criminal’s (buying the passport with my name) was 1969. As you can see the first three digits “196”are also the same. And note that inherently my personal data is to be totally confidential.

Do you believe your personal information was stolen with far-reaching purposes?

Let’s compare events with facts. Mr. Sergei Lyovochkin puts together a team involving an incompetent scientist Kovalenko (director of a controversial StateEnterpriseUKRELECON –Editor). The group is joined by Mr. Sergei Kiyanichenko, a long-standing “fighter” with contraband, and Mr. Viktor Baloga, Mrs. Raisa Bogatyriova, Mr. Sergei Sobolev, Mr. Nikolai Azarov, Mr. Vladimir Khomenko, Mr. Vladimir Bedrykivksyi and Mr. Tibery Durdinets. This serious group is literally persecuting Mr. Vassily Gritsak, People’s Deputy of Ukraine, who is considered one of the founders of the passport system ofUkraine. Needless to say that my family and the EDAPS Consortium were also involved! We all were under the pressure of this group. Intentionally using falsified information (for example that Mr. Sidorenko is wanted by INTERPOL) they mislead members of the National Security and Defense Council ofUkraineand President Yushchenko personally. Baloga and Bogatyriova see the President almost every day informing him that criminals have infiltrated the passport system ofUkraine, all the documents are illegally issued, and all persons involved in the manufacture of travel passports blanks are on the wanted list. It is clear that their main target is not passports. Having started to discredit the manufacturer of new type travel passports - EDAPS Consortium which has actually never been involved in the manufacture of old type travel documents and has nothing to do with them, - they began to fight against the recently introduced, high security, excise stamps for alcohol and tobacco products. The Consortium manufactures and supplies a holographic security element (HSE) applied for the protection of these excise stamps. It is this HSE that smugglers cannot fake. I am aware that manufactures of vodka brands had put a lot of effort to do it. Afterwards, the leading players working in the global market stopped this practice choosing legal business instead. But not all vodka manufactures did it. There are still those who aim not at honest competition but at counterfeit. I don’t want to give the names now. I will just specify the leading “under grounder” in my opinion. He is a People’s Deputy nicknamed Pasha Olimpiyets. If he recognizes himself in this nickname, then the whole country will find out who he is. He may sue me in court. He tried to get in touch with me 3 or 4 times. Last time when he called me personally I told him that if he called me once again I would call the police.

But there were attempts to forge excise stamps with HSE before. The reports of the Ministry of Internal Affairs featured news on withdrawal of counterfeited excise stamps.

The information concerning the technology of the manufacture and protection of Ukrainian excise stamps was declassified by Mr. Kiyanichenko when he occupied the position of the director of Print Works UKRAINA. After this the underground business of manufacturing counterfeited excise stamps was launched inTurkey. This went on until the summer last year when the government implemented new excise stamps. When the supply of pirated goods was stopped, and criminals found it impossible to forge the new stamps, the EDAPS Consortium began to face enormous pressure. There are not so many experts on excise stamps: they do not distinguish between old and new ones. Counterfeiters and their puppets in the officialdom take advantage of this for their benefit juggling with words. Some counterfeited old stamps fromTurkeyby weird coincidence appear in the hands of Mr. Boris Sobolev, Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. And what is even more interesting, Sobolev writes a personal letter to Mr. Bedrykivskyi stating that he was in possession of stamps and asks him to take some actions. The question is: Why doesn’t Mr. Sobolev write where he got the stamps from? It means that he acquired them illegally, does not it? From whom? Later he would try to justify himself and say that he got them through the Foreign Intelligence Service. It is nonsense. According to mass media the Foreign Intelligence Service taking part in destroying illegal printing facilities for the manufacture of counterfeited stamps inTurkeydid not hand Mr. Sobolev any stamps. In their official response to your editorial boardthe Foreign Intelligence stated that the samples of counterfeited stamps were handed only to the State Security Service ofUkraineand the State Tax Administration ofUkraine(see photo of the document –Editor).

Today we can say that these stamps were handed to Sobolev by Durdinets, even though he denies this fact. Everyone inUkraineknows that it is Mr. Bedrykivskyi and Mr. Durdinets who control all contraband flows in the country. Naturally, they were interested in conducting their own inspections of counterfeited stamps. This explains the fact why the EDAPS Consortium, members of top-secret laboratories and all renowned world-class organizations specializing in the security of identification documents, was always rejected whenever it offered its services to Ukrainian law-enforcement bodies during the investigation process inUkraine. From the very first day the EDAPS Consortium sent letters offering expert help to the Turkish Embassy, General Prosecutor’s Office, the Foreign Intelligence Service...

You are talking about inadequate actions of those officials and politicians who as a rule are considered opponents of Mrs. Tymoshenko. We may suppose you defend Tymoshenko’s interests…

Not at all. Any wise person analyzing the activity of the EDAPS Consortium will see that we are always accused of something: of cooperating with Kuchma, Yanukovich, Pustovoitenko, Kinah; again with Tymoshenko, and again with Yanukovich. This is nonsense. We execute state orders. Very often the Consortium demonstrates actions that are to the benefit of the state more so than does the officialdom. And it absolutely does not matter who is in power. Ministers come and go. And the Consortium stays and keeps on working for the benefit of the country. We are constantly accused of being monopolists. But show us at least one enterprise capable of manufacturing high quality security product as does the EDAPS Consortium. There are none inUkraine! We are simply “assigned” a rivaling company close to this or that official. When inspected this company is found, however, in a remote barn, or a locker-room of some children’s club, or a store room in a supermarket. This is ridiculous! Why doesn’t it occur to anyone to assign to Mercedes or BMW a rival that for years assembles one and the same car in some privately owned garage? Finally, why doesn’t anyone speak about a so called closeness of the Consortium to the state? Annually, irrespective of who is in power, we have 130-150 inspections from various state institutions…

If you have so many inspections you might as well get used to them. Why are you ganging up against Baloga, Lyovochkin and Sobolev?

I just could not stand the cynicism of the campaign Baloga and Lyovochkin set out against the Consortium… I am an experienced businessman; I have been doing business since 1989 when Lyovochkin was not yet dry behind his ears. I am fine with twists and turns of business. Yet, what these “activists” did went beyond the lines of arrogance and permissiveness. They put at stake not only individuals or some separate business, but also the income producing programs for the whole country! They did not simply try to destroy the Consortium. They wanted to deplete contributions into the state budget undermining excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco products by means of contraband. All this paralleled the financial fraud of refinancing when the real scenario of Hryvnia devaluation was played through the pumping of dubious credits in “Nadra Bank”.

There are lots of discussions around “Nadra Bank”. As a banker, could you comment the situation?

Let’s look at this fraud from the point of view of the common people. Let’s not use specialized terms like “refinancing”, “stabilization loan”, “devaluation”, or “emission”, but rather those which anyone could understand. All of a sudden the bank whose ownership is not clear (it belongs either to Mr. Firtash or some people inMoscow) appears in the center of attention of the National Bank ofUkraine. No one can understand why this bank with an absolutely opaque asset base has become so important to the Central bank.

And how important!

All of sudden, it receives around 8 billion UAH without any loans, I emphasize, not any loans! The question is: What sort of business should this bank be involved in to take an 8 billion UAH loan for a year with 15 % per annum and return this money in a year. How does the bank guarantee the return of this money to the state? Mortgage and loans, they explain. Where are these mortgages then? Where are those citizens who took the mortgages and never returned them? Why aren’t there any lawsuits against negligent loaners? It is all because everything was a lie. There are even claims of people who were totally unaware of receiving a loan. Alongside with transferring billions of Hryvnias of refinancing to “Nadra Bank”, the Hryvnia exchange rates drop drastically. It is obvious! This is the only way they could return the money.

You mentioned that many people who are among the so-called debtors of “Nadra Bank” were unaware of the fact that they took loans. What evidence do you have?

This testifies to the theft of identification data of Ukrainian citizens. To fill in credit agreements with a real person’s data, unknown to this person, you either have to steal their passport, or get their information from some database.

What is the way to solve this problem?

The way out is very simple. It has been recognized globally. It is an automated system called a demographic register. We need to continue developing international technologies. Another question is why these technologies are hindered here? Why are Mr. Azarov and Mr. Lavrinovich so against them? Why every time when we raise the question of the establishment of the national demographic register for which Ukraine is ready scientifically, technologically and industrially, there always are Azarov, Lavrinovich or Lyapina and others who go for broke not to let the law on the demographic register be adopted. The matter is that should this law appear inUkraineno one will be able to take the database and use it to obtain an illegal loan, make a forged passport, false identification numbers, draw up illegal documents, etc. As a matter of fact, everyone knows those people who use forged ID-numbers. Among them is Mr. Azarov, whose son has two tax numbers, and Deputy Minister of the Internal Affairs of Ukraine Mr. Khomenko whose son also has two tax numbers.

So you think that the Consortium is opposed by some individual officials and politicians as the initiator of the implementation of state-of-the-art developments in the area of ID manufacture because these developments ruin the plans of all corrupt officials?

Presently, the Consortium has 300 international projects. The Consortium is recognized by the most renowned organizations of the world, such as ICAO, OSCE, the European Union, INTERPOL, etc. One of the famous world-class companies De Beers also cooperates with the Consortium.

The Consortium offers the best technologies in the world. And of course this doesn’t quite settle with the above-mentioned Lyapina, Silkin, Azarov or Lavrinovich. This doesn’t settle with Baloga who created a whole military complex called State Security Service of Ukraine. With the help of the Prosecutor’s Office of Zakarpatye Oblast and antiterrorist branches “Alpha” he utilized the State Security Service to solve his personal problems. Who did he think he was? The King?

Or does he think that no one knows about his role in persecution of unwanted politicians, manufacturers?

Speaking of “Alpha” do you mean the March seizure of “Naftogaz ofUkraine” which the whole country followed?

Not only that. I will give you another example which shows that these people have completely lost their mind. In January 2009 at the invitation of the Chairman of the Parliament and the government Mr. Ronald Noble, Secretary General of INTERPOL arrived inUkraineon an official visit. One of the purposes of the visit was visiting the EDAPS Consortium. According to the INTERPOL’s analysis the Consortium occupies leading positions in the global industry of security printing.

Do you think the General Secretariat requested the names of the EDAPS Consortium leadership? They did. Do you think they inspected the officials before the visit? They did. Highly professional specialists of INTERPOL personally inspected all the production facilities of the EDAPS Consortium. As a result of the visit INTERPOL concluded a Memorandum to create the prototype e-passport for this Organization.

However, Baloga, Durdinets and Lyovochkin think that they are uncrowned kings of this country. They don’t care about the image ofUkraine. In a few days after the official visit of the INTERPOL’s General Secretary, Durdinets, following Baloga’s order, calls in racketeers with shoulder holsters. A Major Pleschenko (who was previously known to be a racketeer and smuggler) arrives at the Consortium on a Jeep wearing a leather jacket and a gold chain and shows the ID of the State Security Service official. He brings with him 15 people from the antiterrorist department “Alpha” wearing masks and holding guns in their hands. Together they try to seize the enterprise, showing utter disrespect to scientists, scaring women. This happens 3 days after it was announced globally that INTERPOL showedUkrainefavor by agreeing to partner in such an important and complicated project as the creation of the e-passport.

So, who are the criminals then? Baloga thinks that he and Durdinets are the cleverest. No one knows where he gets the money to fly his own airplane with his sidekicks and spend time at expensive resorts. What has he done forUkraineapart from destroying the people? Has he built any plants or factories?

Many politicians and businesspeople inUkraineare faced with such evidence of corruption in high governmental circles. Why did you decide to bring this information to the surface?

Because the impudence, recklessness and cynicism of these people have exceeded all limits! These are the people who don’t manufacture anything; they haven’t created any jobs inUkraine. These people believe that by privatizing the National Bank and law-enforcement bodies they have turned the whole country into a nation of gaping primitives. They think they can manipulate everything and everybody. They themselves have lowered the status of the President.

What is really scary is that these people who are unable to manage plants and who can only carve up contraband stimulate this very contraband with their own actions. NowRussiaactively fights smugglers, and as a result all the contraband floodsUkraine.

What is contraband? It is not only missing contributions into the state budget. The worst thing is that because of Chinese, Taiwanese or any other dubious products, our plants, garment and textile factories, and small-size manufactures of foodstuffs will stop. Ukrainians are likely to lose their jobs and the country will turn into a big flea market.

But the country is going through crisis – no wonder that contraband flourishes…

What crisis? I said it in October last year and I will say it again: there is no crisis! People keep working. Production goes on. We hear cries about the crisis every day. And one and the same group of people is trying to impose their living standards – Lyovochkin, Azarov. Which of them hasanexperience in working in any real sector of the economy, Geologist Azarov or intriguer Lyovochkin?

Mind you that first Lyovochkin plays the role of a shadow chairman of the National Bank. Then suddenly Azarov, as a member of the coalition, claimsforthe position of the chairman of the National Bank ofUkraine. Afterwards Azarov all of a sudden heads the campaign office of the Party of Regions of Ukraine with Lyovochkin as his deputy. They walk almost hand-in-hand with one another thinking that people around have no idea of what’s going on.

How long shall we keep silent about the machinations of these two and how long shall the people suffer?! Today the whole country is talking about the nightmare which happened during the talks between the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko and the Party of Regions. If Yanukovich claims that he didn’t want to join the coalition then why will no one say where it all started? Only Lyovochkin knew about this at7 a.m. on Sunday, the 7thof July, calling all the interested persons and telling them what decision Yanukovich would announce that day.

You mentioned Raisa Bogatyriova previously. What was the specific role of the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council in this company?

Hardly had Bogatyriova occupied the post when she phoned us and enquired what Jeep we would buy her or what services we would cover. When suddenly the National Security and Defense Council began to inspect the Consortium she says she has nothing to do with it. But she has. Otherwise, who would instigate the smugglers?

I am always at peace with twists and turns of business. However, the interests of the nation are at stake now. Bogatyriova shouldn’t be called Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council but rather Secretary of a brigandish group of terrorists-smugglers. And if she thinks that she can manipulate situations using the personal data of individuals, and use this information on a national level, then in my opinion, she should go to prison. It was she who signed the resolution of the National Security and Defense Council which should be a subject of the lawsuit.

What is the situation with inspections of the Consortium by fiscal agencies? According to the resolution of the National Security and Defense Council the Consortium was faced with some serious accusations. Are the chief executives of the state involved in the process?

The Consortium already has a special department for working with inspectors as we see them almost every two days.

Note thattherepresentatives of all international organizations regularly visit the Consortium to see Ukrainian security printing technologies. Ukrainian officials, however, claim that they haven’t seen those technologies.

All those people I mentioned before make sure that the President, the Prime Minister or anyone else won’t come to the Consortium and wouldn’t see thatUkrainehas advanced technologies recognized throughout the whole world.

The same happened during the presidency of Leonid Kuchma. The officials did their best for four months to keep the President from visiting the production facilities of the Consortium.

For four years the officialdom takes pains making things up to keep President Yushchenko away from the Consortium. The same situation is with Prime Minister Tymoshenko. The Consortium and its specialists are threatened and attacked. The information is constantly falsified.

And then the state people begin to complain and ask whenUkrainewill finally be admitted to the European community. Never. No declarations, no stricter visa procedures for foreigners will help. They won’t let us in for a simple reason – while the whole world lives in the 21stcentury,Ukrainestill lags behind in the previous centuries. In the 19thcentury you had to say who you are; in the 20thcentury you had to show who you are, and in the 21stcentury you have to prove who you are.

Until the automated demographic register is created in the country, until electronic (biometric) documents are implemented and a clear-cut reliable documents circulation system is established, no one will ever open the borders for Ukrainians.

At the same time the National Security and Defense Council takes very good care of a very controversial enterprise, together with its director Kovalenko, who utters some professional words which no one understands except for him. He shouts everywhere that he will benefit the country and the Consortium means absolutely nothing.

As far as the introduction of a clear-cut and reliable documents circulation is concerned, everyone knows that in Ukraine a centralized execution and manufacture of the new travel passport have been launched based on the Consortium technologies. How did it facilitate bringing order to the area of issue of travel passports?

This has changed the situation drastically. To date, there are no counterfeited new travel passports. Note, as soon as Mr. Maymeskul left the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it stopped fling applications for the issue of new passports. Did Ukrainian residents abroad return home? Previously, when the old passports with a pasted in photo were issued, the Ministry required around 100 thousand blanks of such passports annually. Now it’s almost two years that they haven’t asked for passports.

Moreover, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs doesn’t introduce application centers for receiving travel passports abroad(program-technical centers with the help of which centralized manufacture and issue of travel passports in the state information system is carried out –Editor). Where have all the people gone? What about 50 thousand Ukrainian Moldavians annually demanding passports?

Some People’s Deputies, namely Lyapina, keep on accusing the Consortium of robbing the country. Where is robbery? For example, a person flying to theUSAbuys an air ticket for 1,5 thousand US dollars, arranges a tour, hotel, insurances, etc. The expenses add up to, say, 10 thousand US dollars. In comparison with this sum of money the figure of 140 UA hryvnias (the cost of the passport issue) is ridiculous. Lyapina calls this robbery. The question is then: what do those who don’t travel abroad and don’t need travel passports have to do with those who need to go abroad?

Now let’s look what is going on in the immigration policy. Quite a lot of immigrants have arrived inUkraine. Have they brought new workplaces? Have they built plants and invested money in Ukrainian economy? No. They deprive our citizens from workplaces. Their payment is very low. They don’t mind having ten people living in one room, sleeping on one bed, working 3 shifts. Ukrainians don’t want to live this way and they certainly want to earn more. The employees have their own take on the problem: whytohire Ukrainians when there are plenty of people prepared to work for 1 US dollar instead of 100.

What should the state do to change the situation in this area?

First of all it should protect the interests of its citizens. Once the attempts have been made to improve the situation in the immigration systems by means of introducing corresponding IDs and automated databases, the government begins to complain demanding cheap documents. It is obvious as it will be easier for the officials to make money on cheap documents. It is easier to make a document and pay, say, 3 UA hryvnias and later sell it for 100 UA hryvnias. You don’t need plants to make such documents. All you need is a printer where you print off the paper, stamp it and the documents is ready.

This is what happens when you need to obtain a police clearance. It is a really successful business for officials. They sell this simple stamped piece of paper for 70 UA hryvnias. Only in 2009 the company controlled by the interests of some Mr. Shvachko received more than 25 million UA hryvnias having used25 kgof paper and2 kgof paint for cartridges. That’s all. The manufacture of a highly secure travel passport, which is impossible to counterfeit, costs 140 UA hryvnias.

But the officials of the National Security and Defense Council never talk about it. The business involves people supported by Lyapina and Burzhinsky(Head of IT Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs ofUkraineEditor).Such officials have been occupying their posts for 15-20 years and they just don’t care because no one will dismiss them.

They consider the EDAPS Consortium to be a criminal organization. The difference isthoughthat no one works with thosedenying their guilt.The Consortium partners with the world elite. EDAPS is represented in all global ratings; it is part of any professional top secret laboratory related to personal identification issues. Until this problem is solved at the governmental level, until there is the awareness of dignity and worth, it is useless to discuss even the probability of any prosperity.

Those who you have mentioned would probably wish to contradict your words.

I see no problem with that. I want to address all the people I have mentioned. I am ready to have a discussion with Mr. Bedrikivsky, Mrs. Bogatiryova, Mr. Baloga, Mr. Lyovochkin and Mr. Azarov in the form of an open live link-up. I therefore ask Bagnet to pass my request to each of those persons, particularly to Mr. Lyovochkin and Mrs. Bogatiryova.



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