UAF lawyer Serhii Boyko - about the prosecution of the association's leaders: "A number of economic examinations have been carried out, which confirm the legality of the actions of the UAF management and the absence of any abuses"
The lawyer of the Ukrainian Football Association, Serhii Boyko, commented for the channel "Espresso" the case regarding the construction of a plant for the production of artificial pavement, in which the heads of the UAF - President Andriy Pavelko and General Secretary Yuriy Zapisotskyi - appear.
— Please remind me of the essence of the case and why it is currently being considered in Lviv.
- There is a simple answer to this case - why it was transferred to Lviv. They were looking for a court that could make an absolutely illegal decision regarding the imprisonment of, in particular, Mr. Pavelek and Mr. Zapisotskyi. Accordingly, this happened according to the decision of the Deputy Prosecutor General, Mr. Mustetsa, who actually pointed out that the body that investigated before this, the Main Directorate of the National Police, actually did it ineffectively.
Why is this decision completely illegal and contrary to common sense? Firstly, Mr. Mustetsa believes that the investigator of the highest authority within the National Police, the main department, will perform his functions less effectively than the Lviv district department. With all due respect to the investigators of the district department of the city of Lviv. At the same time, it is obvious that the higher echelon of the investigative body, the Main Directorate of the National Police, is more effective in the case.
Second, in general, this case should be investigated by NABU detectives. Defenders have repeatedly raised this topic. Andrii Pavelko submitted an appeal more than a month ago to the Prosecutor General that the case should be investigated by NABU detectives. However, all these appeals remain unheeded.
Everyone in the legal community — and even people who are not involved in the law — understand that if the question of allegedly illegal actions committed by a person who was in the position of a people's deputy (and Pavelko was a people's deputy at that time) is being investigated, accordingly, the case should, of course, be investigated by NABU detectives.
And the last argument, which also shows that the transfer to Lviv is completely artificial. The decision to transfer to Lviv was made at the beginning of June, and the case is quite voluminous - it includes about 600 volumes, international investigations, hundreds of interrogations, hundreds of searches... At the same time, in a few days, the investigator from Lviv makes a decision - without studying the case, without physically examining these volumes (because the materials were in Kyiv, so they remained), - makes a decision without studying the materials to change the preventive measure. We all understand that such a position and such a decision have nothing to do with the law and, accordingly, are baseless.
This, in short, is about the change of Kyiv to Lviv...
— Two managers of the UAF are currently absent from the House of Football. How does it affect the activities of the UAF? What can we see in the future?
— This actually does not affect the activity, since the UAF is a public organization, the relevant officials perform the tasks that the public organization faces. We can see this from the performance of our athletes - we are talking, in particular, about the European Youth Championship, at which they successfully performed. At the same time, I want to draw your attention to the fact that this kind of pressure on the leadership of the UAF, in particular Andriy Pavelek and Yuriy Zapisotskyi, can have a negative impact on Ukrainian football on the world stage. At the moment, the Russian Federation is actively discussing the issue of excluding the virtually single voice of Ukraine in UEFA, as Mr. Pavelko is a member of the UEFA Executive Committee. It is this falsified criminal proceeding that can have negative consequences for Ukraine on the international football arena.
— When it was reported about the change of preventive measure for Andriy Pavelek, the previously paid bail was transferred to the state. Can't get it back?
— This decision on changing the preventive measure against the client, respectively, and collection of the security deposit in the state income for the time being, will be appealed. We passed the appellate instance, now we are preparing a cassation appeal. And this decision will be appealed to the ECtHR, because the obvious violations that were, unfortunately, committed by the Lviv court of both the first and second instance, should not be ignored.
Such legal action will be taken by us, we seek to have the decision overturned, accordingly, the security deposit must be returned and the change decision must also be overturned.
— There was information about the seizure of Andrii Pavelek's property. What is the situation in this matter?
— Regarding the seizure of property, the situation is as follows. No arrests were made in Lviv after the preventive measure was changed.
At the end of 2022, another wave of discrediting of Andriy Pavelek took place in the mass media, which was certainly connected with his re-election to the UEFA Executive Committee. At the same time, during the resolution of this issue and the study of all documents — we are talking about the Pechersk Court in Kyiv — the seizure of Andrii Pavelek's property was refused. And here, as it were, there should have been a point in the question, since the court gave its assessment.
However, after some time, we found out that there was another decision on seizure of property - a decision of the same court. This is completely illogical! After all, it was the first time that the issue was resolved and the arrest was refused. At the same time, another solution appeared. At the moment, this decision is certainly being contested, because it is actually some kind of manipulation, and it is another clear reflection of the fact that, in fact, this whole thing is complete pressure - including in the matter of the arrest.
— After the 60 days of Pavelek's stay in the pretrial detention center, where will the case move, and are there any guarantees that he will not remain in custody?
— As for the preventive measure and the expiration of the term, we have tools for appealing it, which we are currently using. I have already talked about appeals in the cassation procedure and the ECtHR. We are also preparing an application to the Lviv court to change the preventive measure. Because according to the requirements of the law, after one month, a person has the right to initiate a review of the preventive measure, and, accordingly, the court must listen to all the arguments of both the defense side and the client directly that there are absolutely no grounds for detention. We are counting on a positive result there, as there are all grounds for this, both legal and evidential.
— They say that detention in the pretrial detention center was chosen as a preventive measure, because the hearing was constantly postponed, because Pavelko or Zapisotsky avoided court hearings...
— Based on the materials of the case, I can frankly say that there are no facts of violation on the part of the clients, in particular Pavelek and Zapisotskyi. They conscientiously performed the duties assigned by the court, appeared at all meetings. Those cases where sessions were postponed there were postponed for good reasons, and the court directly established this in its decisions. If one of the clients did not arrive, the court established a valid reason. Personally, I absolutely do not understand the reasons for initiating a change of preventive measure. And what's more, even the legal community and citizens who are not lawyers cannot understand from the arguments presented by the prosecutor at the hearing - why change the preventive measure at all? I repeat - there were no violations, and in fact, the change of the preventive measure is a pressure on the leadership of the UAF.
— You mentioned the pressure exerted by the Russian Federation on UEFA, although it was thanks to the UAF that the Russians were suspended from all tournaments at the national team and club level. Now there is a petition of the Russian Federation to remove Pavelko from the duties of a member of the executive committee. And how does UEFA react to similar actions of the Russians, and how does UEFA react to the fact that Pavelko is in pretrial detention?
— Regarding UEFA's reaction to this case... UEFA is very actively and carefully monitoring this case. This is confirmed by UEFA's letters to UAF, they ask for information and are monitoring the situation in the context of pressure. Since, according to the UEFA Statute, no influence from public authorities is inadmissible for a football public organization, accordingly, they express concern about such actions, monitor the case and may take some measures in case of further such actions.
Now this is actually being monitored, and the last of such bells was a letter dated July 5 from UEFA to the public union UAF about the very concern about the criminal proceedings and actions that may contain signs of pressure from the law enforcement agencies of the state.
— What are the conditions in the pretrial detention center? Can Pavelko communicate with foreign colleagues and journalists?
— Of course, before the change of preventive measure, the client made a lot of efforts to remove Russian football from the international arena. With the change of preventive measure, such actions are absolutely limited. Pavelko, as a member of the UEFA Executive Committee, has ample opportunities to defend his position on the international arena and in the future to exclude the Russian Federation, since the Russian Federation is trying in every way to return to big football. It is precisely because of the change in the preventive measure that Andriy Pavelko is deprived of the opportunity to effectively use his opportunities to defend the position of Ukraine.
— Is it an end in itself for the judicial system to remove Pavelko from the post of UAF president? Do criminal cases still have any prospects?
- In fact, everything is very simple. I will tell you a few facts so that both you and the audience understand. The case has been under investigation since 2018, it was initiated by NABU, which conducted a serious investigation. I have already mentioned - a large number of searches, investigative actions, in particular - in foreign jurisdictions (UAE, Germany and others). And then a decision was made to actually close the case against Pavelek, because no signs of a crime could be seen in his actions. The case was handed over to the National Police for investigation due to the absence of a subject under investigation by NABU.
At the same time, in 2022, during the regular elections to the UEFA Executive Committee, there was a new wave of activation of the case, and, accordingly, there were suspicions and all these circumstances, which you are aware of. We currently have a change of custody.
At the same time, the case has been under investigation for five years, is this enough time to send the case to court to decide on its merits? Yes, that's enough. But we do not see this, because the investigators do not have any evidence that would be heard in court.
At the same time, procedural tools are used against the heads of the UAF: a preventive measure, the initiation of property seizure, removal from office... However, I would like to draw attention to the fact that since the case was transferred to Lviv (this is the beginning of June this year), no investigative action has been taken against the client. He was not even questioned! What can we talk about? Who wants to establish the factual circumstances of the case and find out the essence of this case? I think this question is rhetorical. More interested in pressure, persecution and so on...
Photo of UAF press service
- About pressure and persecution - we remember, there were many materials in the mass media, video and text materials. If Pavelko believes that he is innocent, are there lawsuits against journalists for defamation?
— As far as I know, there are such lawsuits, but I will not be able to correctly comment on it, since I am defending a client in the framework of criminal proceedings. Therefore, I cannot comment here, because I do not have enough information about work in this direction.
— In the end, tell me what you see as the nearest prospects for this case.
— Regarding this case, I definitely see the cancellation of the preventive measure chosen at the moment, which absolutely does not correspond to either its purpose or the circumstances of the case. And in general, the closure of this case due to the absence of any signs of wrongdoing, since, I repeat, there is currently evidence in the case that confirms this. No damage was caused, the factory for the production of artificial pavement was built, it was functioning and will continue to function.
In addition, all the services that the prosecution says about - in particular, that money was supposedly stolen somewhere... This is completely untrue. The defense conducted a number of economic examinations, which actually confirm this - the legality of the actions of the UAF management, as well as the correctness and absence of any abuses in this process. And as a result, this case should definitely be closed!
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