Zhevago’s Espreso TV Channel Publishes Fake News Reports against Investohills and Puts Pressure on Courts

The Investohills Group has again become a target of information attacks by ex-owners of bankrupt banks because of its professional activity focused on recovering the assets of these banks.

The Investohills Group is accustomed to biased articles published by malcontented oligarchs on junk media platforms that have nothing to do with journalism. However, the Group had to react to the gross violation of the ethics of journalism by the well-known Espreso TV channel controlled by the runaway oligarch Kostiantyn Zhevago (the State Bureau of Investigation put him on the international wanted list).

On the eve of a session of the Cassation Court of Commerce being a part of the Supreme Court, journalists aired a news piece utterly biased in terms of both its contents and form. Their goal was to pressure courts to squeeze out a decision beneficial to oligarchs.

The form. Espreso TV’s journalists have not asked the Investohills Group for comments on the information publicized in the news piece. By doing so, the TV channel deprived its spectators of an opportunity to listen to all parties to the conflict and violated the principles of the standards of journalism.

The contents. Journalists allowed themselves to tag the Group as a “pro-russian” company, and it has not even been presented as a judgment. Even judgments need to be supported with genuine arguments. The TV channel decided to offer a fragment of the review of a prosecutor’s motion in a criminal proceeding as such an argument. There, the prosecutor groundlessly claimed that the company operated to the benefit of the russian federation by stopping the operations of strategic companies.

The point that the Security Service of Ukraine initiated this absurd criminal case to the benefit of oligarchs Kostiantyn Zhevago and Anatolii Yurkevych has already been made in the press release by Investohills Helianthus investment fund and the Investohills Group.

The strategic companies purportedly “stopped” by the Investohills Group, in the opinion of investigators, were AvtoKrAZ and Rosava, both of which had been driven into bankruptcy by their ex-owner Zhevago in 2018. Once the bankruptcy procedure was opened, he established control over these companies.

The accusations are absurd because the Investohills Group has never exercised control over AvtoKrAZ, which was nationalized from Zhevago as its beneficial owner due to its unsatisfactory operation.

The Investohills Group did buy interests in Rosava’s debt to Zhevago’s Finance and Credit Banking Corporation at an auction organized by the state. The oligarch lost control over this company, and it later managed to resume successful operations. The Investohills Group is not Rosava’s active creditor anymore.

Strangely, Zhevago’s journalists failed to mention all this information about the oligarch, although Investohills had made these data and its stance known back in July.

It is also strange that the journalists ignored one more press release with the statement that Pavlo Fuks had never been Investohills’ founder, beneficiary, or minority shareholder. This information is confirmed in the course of the thorough statutory inspections of the Group’s companies by the National Bank of Ukraine (the public regulator of the financial sector). However, it has not prevented Espreso from brazenly claiming that Fuks controlled the Investohills Group without mentioning our stance and official government data.

Moreover, not a single procedural decision has been made in the above-mentioned contract criminal case: no suspicion has been announced, no materials have been submitted to the court, and no sentence was issued. Thus, Espreso journalists’ claims of “treason” are fraudulent and manipulative.

Recently, in December 2021, experts of the Institute of Mass Information (IMI) have already caught this channel’s journalists violating the standards of journalism. They focused on the publication entitled Bila Tserkva Thermal Power Plant Became a Target of a Hostile Takeover Attempt by Investohills Vesta on Espreso’s website. In their Report on Monitoring Compliance with Professional Standards of Journalism in Online Media — The Fourth Wave of Monitoring in 2021, published on the IMI’s website, their experts referred to this publication as “questionable” and “unsourced.” Espreso went two rungs down in the mass media compared with the previous monitoring period because of publishing such unfounded articles.

Why did Espreso TV air this news item now? The news item deals with decisions made by courts on assets of the Safe Invest company. The assets (land plots and transformer substations near Kyiv) were siphoned off unlawfully from the Ukrainian Professional Bank on the eve of its being declared insolvent in 2015. The assets were siphoned off to the benefit of UPB’s ex-owner Anatolii Yurkevych. He transferred these properties to Safe Invest using a chain of related firms. In 2015, the Deposits Guarantee Fund won their case in a court of law, and Yurkevych’s companies were supposed to return the assets in question. However, once the Investohills Group, acting via Investohills Vesta Financial Company, bought out the claims to these assets at a ProZorro auction, the company initiated litigation. Yurkevych’s firms have already lost the case in the courts of the first and second instances. The cassation hearings are ongoing before the Supreme Court. You can find the case materials here.

On the eve of a court session scheduled to take place on November 15, Espreso TV published the news hit piece trying to put pressure on the court to make a decision to benefit Yurkevych’s entities.

Thus, it is the right time to ask how Espreso TV gained access to the procedural documents in the criminal proceedings against the Fund and the Investohills Group. The published documents have never been made public, indicating that Zhevago’s journalists obtained them unofficially to help Yurkevych. It is an indication that the secrecy of the investigation has been compromised. In the Investohills Group’s opinion, it also demonstrates that Zhevago and Yurkevych are likely the masterminds that have cooked up the criminal proceedings against the Investohills Group. Thus, the only goal of this absurd investigation that has no promise from a legal standpoint is to create a negative information background around the creditor of these two oligarchs.

Evidently, Zhevago and Yurkevych, the comrades in misfortune, who stole from the depositors and the government via their respective banks, do not like what the Investohills Group does. The Espreso TV journalists are merely the means to an end, and we expect no impartiality from them. However, Espreso TV could have complied with the standards of journalism at least formally and given the floor to all the parties.