Fugitive ex-environment minister sells croco shoes in Kyiv center

Originally posted here.

What does Zlocci sound like? Like something Italian, right? But in fact it’s Ukrainian, smelling not of pizza and prosecco, but abuse of power and illicit enrichment.

According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, this luxurious shoes brand, with a showroom in the very center of Kyiv belongs to Ukrainian wanted former Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky, who is wanted in Ukraine and presumably lives abroad.

An obvious consonance between “Zlocci” and “Zlochevsky” is by far not the only evidence. As Radio Svoboda has found out, Zlocci is registered to a Cyprus-based Ametosa Investments Ltd. company that has the same address as Birtilina Consultings Ltd., which co-owns two estates on Kyiv Sea (Reservoir) coast together with Zlochevsky’s father.

Ex-minister’s daughter Karina Zlochevska has reposted a number of posts from Zlocci Facebook page on her Facebook timeline, but deleted them after journalists asked Zlochevsky’s spokesmen for a comment about the brand.

The produce of Zlocci reflects Zlochevsky’s own taste for luxury.

The brand’s shop is in Gorodetskoho Street, a mere block away from the place of the EuroMaidan Revolution and the massacre of protestors that resulted, inter alia, in turning Zlochevsky and other top officials into fugitives.

The shop sells men and women shoes and accessories made of crocodile and ostrich leather. The shoes come in all colors, from black to hot pink. The prices here can make a middle-class customer cry, e.g. a crocodile skin belt may cost Hr 60,000 – and that’s after a discount.

Zlocci spokesman refused to comment the shop’s link to the fugitive minister to Kyiv Post.

“We cannot, or do not want to comment this. You may understand it as you want”, he said over telephone.

Zlochevsky held office in ecology ministry during President Viktor Yanukovych’s rule. He is suspected of money laundering and is wanted by Prosecutor General’s Office on charges of abuse of power and illicit enrichment.

Interestingly, Zlochevsky’s former boss Yanukovych preferred ostrich leather shoes even before his presidency. He was photographed wearing extravagant ostrich shoes to the meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 2007 – a fact that was noticed and covered by media.

Just recently, ostriches again let down the former president. In a BBC interview in June he denied the ownership of his Mezhyhirya estate near Kyiv that included a private zoo, but couldn’t help slipping that he “was supporting the ostriches” that lived in the zoo. The remark shadowed the rest of the interview, resulting in many jokes.

Now we can’t help but wonder if ostriches bring bad luck to Ukrainian politicians.

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