Головна News Extraordinary events Detective story: why did American plan assassination of Ukraine’s agriculture minister?

Detective story: why did American plan assassination of Ukraine’s agriculture minister?

The story of the disclosure of the attempted murder of the Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Roman Leshchenko could become a plot for an American blockbuster. According to the investigation, the American farmer Kurt Groszhans hired a killer to murder the collector, who allegedly did not collect the debt, and then the minister himself. The murder was supposed to take place after the American left Ukraine.

This story began in 2017, when Leshchenko worked as a hired director of Groszhans companies, reports ProAgro Group with reference to Economic Truth.

A month before the arrest of those who ordered the assassination, the court confirmed that Leshchenko’s company had no debts to the American. However, he remained dissatisfied, because he demanded in court a three times higher amount, which he considered lost profit.

250 thousand dollars, loans and a claim for 27 million UAH. Version of American

According to Kurt Groszhans, he met Roman Leshchenko in 2017, when he was teaching at the University Taras Shevchenko. The acquaintance was accidental – in the English speaking club. The same year, he appointed Leshchenko as the head of his company Dakota Agroinvestments LLC, and the next year – Groszhans LLC. These companies did not have their own land in Ukraine, but they possesed money and equipment.

Dakota Agro Investments grew soybeans on the land owned by the Leshchenko’s family Progress company, which is run by his wife.

“My company paid for all the growing processes: seeds, fertilizers, hired labor, equipment. He harvested the entire soybean crop worth about $ 750,000, says Groszhans.

The accusations of the American businessman are that Leshchenko transferred 250 thousand dollars to the accounts of Progress. This company used agricultural equipment of Groszhans for free during the season.

The American convinces that Leshchenko allegedly transferred this money without his knowledge.

Groszhans said that at that time there were 350 thousand dollars on the account of Groszhans LLC, and Leshchenko, in several portions in hryvnias, withdrew about 250 thousand dollars to the account of Progress under the pretext of interest-free loans.

The American says that he tried to negotiate a refund without going to law enforcement and the court.

Subsequently, Groszhans convinces, Leshchenko filed for bankruptcy, having paid only about 35 thousand hryvnyas. The American claims that at the same time the Progress agricultural firm continued to earn money and pay dividends to the owners.

Groszhans also claims that Leshchenko’s family, around the time he filed for bankruptcy, transferred about $ 60,000 to the presidential campaign of Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

In May 2020, Groszhans applied to the Economic Court of the Cherkasy region with a claim to recover more than 27 million UAH from Leshchenko’s company and to recognize contracts on repayable financial assistance invalid.

“For 2.5 years, he earned with my money, but I could not. In Ukraine, the interest rate on loans is 25-30% per year. Why haven’t I received compensation for using this money? Groszhans asks.

After a series of lawsuits, the Northern Economic Court of Appeal put an end to the case in October 2021. At that time, Leshchenko paid Groszhans the entire amount of funds transferred to his company under contracts, inflationary losses and interest. The rest of the claims for the recovery of about 23 million UAH the court refused.

Genetically modified soybeans of discord and repaid debt. Leshchenko’s version

Leshchenko notes that from the beginning of the cooperation there was an agreement on the cultivation of organic soybeans. The American was convincing that he had special cultivation technologies that would make it possible to obtain a profitability of up to 40%. However, it turned out to be a fraudulent scheme, he notes.

“He says: there is your farm, I have technology. You become the head of an enterprise, manage a company, an account, transfer funds to your company, and we grow seed material – organic soy”, explains Leshchenko.

According to Leshchenko, Groszhans was convincing him to illegally sell genetically modified soybean seeds using forged documents.

“I transferred funds to my own company to ensure technological processes: sowing, fertilizing, purchasing fuel and lubricants, but as a director, I could not transfer funds without his knowledge. This was account in PrivatBank. He, as the founder, received SMS on his mobile and a message in Privat24 about the movement of funds”, notes Leshchenko.

He emphasizes that in the trial, Groszhans claimed that he did not know and could not have known about the movement of funds in his account. The court figured out how the transaction was going. The bank’s specialist explained that such transfers, and it was about several million hryvnias, must be confirmed by the account holder. Therefore, the case was considered within the framework of civil rather than criminal proceedings.

By prior arrangement, investments were directed to Progress LLC. Under agreement with the founder funds were entered in non-cash form from LLC Groszhans to LLC Progress.

From March to September 2018, three agreements of returnable financial assistance were concluded for a total of 6 660 thousand UAH, of which 4 959 thousand UAH were transferred to the accounts of Progress LLC, Leshchenko notes.

Groszhans had the equipment and independently carried out all agrotechnical work: sowing, processing with agrochemicals. At a certain stage, it became clear that the American sowed genetically modified soybeans, which are prohibited to grow in Ukraine.

“I learned that soybeans were genetically modified when, after sprouting, agronomists reported that they were being treated with Roundup (a herbicide used to control weeds and accelerate the maturation of genetically modified crops) and two other drugs that are not used for organic soybeans. I invited an independent expert, which confirmed that it was GMO. We documented this, collected soybeans in a warehouse, sealed them together with canisters and other evidence, so that later we could prove it in court”, Leshchenko says.

According to him, Groszhans persuaded him to illegally sell genetically modified soybean seeds using forged documents. After the harvest completion Leshchenko wrote a letter of resignation.

Leshchenko notes that the entire soybean crop – 428 tons – is preserved as material evidence in the lawsuit, which he intends to initiate in the United States after the end of the lawsuits in Ukraine.

We store soybeans for an independent examination to confirm that they were genetically modified. He bought these soybeans in the USA, there are relevant documents. In the trial, he must explain how this material ended up on the territory of Ukraine. We can show that he smuggled it in”, Leshchenko notes.

He revealed intention to go to court in North Dakota, where the American farmer is registered.

“Criminal liability is established for the import of genetically modified material by smuggling and import of equipment at a reduced customs value. Affected farmers are ready to testify”, explains Leshchenko.

He returned the last part of the repayable financial aid before his appointment to the post of minister.

“The lawyers said that this would be used against me and recommended the financial aid to be returned. I did not return these funds, because there was a trial going on to prove the legal facts. A few weeks before my appointment as minister, I returned these funds”, Leshchenko admits.

He notes that the issue of the use of agricultural machinery was not stipulated in the contracts, therefore he considers the corresponding claims of the American to be unfounded. Leshchenko also denies that he filed for bankruptcy.

The court will put an end to this detective story. The American farmer has already been announced on suspicion of kidnapping, extortion, grievous bodily harm and attempted murder. He and his accomplice could face life imprisonment.

In addition, the cultivation of GMO plants is illegal in Ukraine. If this is proven, Groszhans will have to answer for the smuggling and pay a fine for violating the requirements for exporting products.

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