Anti-corruptionists and eco-activists have been sounding the alarm about barbaric illegal logging in Transcarpathia for many years. However, the scale of the illegal activity of the “forest mafia” in the region is only growing. Thus, despite international corruption scandals and criminal proceedings, Yuriy Soima continues to manage the Velikobychkov Forestry in Zakarpattia Oblast. High-ranking officials united in the “forestry mafia” help Soima maintain his influence in the forestry of Veliko Bychkov. This is stated in the article “Forest Mafia of Transcarpathia. Why the member of the international corruption scandal of the Diet still cannot be released”” on the website Delo.UA.
The publication writes that Yuriy Soima was appointed director of the Velikobychkovo LMG back in 2014.
“Surrounding himself with relatives and confidants and firing everyone who disagreed with his management style and illegal forestry activities, Yuriy Soima created a business that brought huge profits to the participants of the scheme. The main areas of illegal activity are unofficial logging and sale of the Carpathian forest through related companies and sale of high-value timber species to his brother’s company under cover and at chip and low-quality wood prices. is stated in the article “Acts”.
The publication recalls that in 2020, an investigation by the British non-governmental organization Earthsight came out, which proved that the furniture giant IKEA used illegally harvested wood in the Velikobychkiv LMG for its production. The State Forestry Agency then decided to release the diet. However, the leadership of Rakhiv District “refused to agree with the decision of the State Agency on the release of Soima.”
“On February 12, 2020, the state agency still fired Soima “in connection with the expiration of the contract”, but even in such a situation, Soima refused to leave the “bread place” by inventing and implementing another blatantly illegal scheme”notes the edition.
According to Dyelo, the Diet retroactively fired Yasinchak R.V. from the position of chief forester of the forestry department, and immediately after his dismissal from the position of director, he took the vacant position of chief forester.
“At the same time, the chief engineer of the Demyanchuk enterprise signed the order appointing Soyma as the chief forester. As a result, complete legal arbitrariness was reached… The appointee of the State Forestry Agency, under director Telichuk is physically prevented from performing his duties, and the dismissed director of the Diet has been appointed to the position of chief forester by the chief engineer, who is an official lower in rank than the chief forester.” – says the article.
As “Delo” writes, during the war Yuriy Soima and Yasinchak “developed a particularly active activity”. According to the information available to law enforcement officials, they have created an extensive network for theft and sale of firewood and service wood. As a result, in October of this year, two open criminal proceedings against Yuriy Soima and his associates were sent to court, journalists write.
“Despite the fact that the cases have already been sent to court and the schemes implemented by him are known in detail not only to GBR, but also to the majority of local residents, Yuriy Soima is still confident that his patrons in power will help him and this time to avoid responsibility. And he himself is trying, using his influence in Veliki Bychkov, to intimidate all possible witnesses.” – says the article.
The publication writes that there is hope that, at least in wartime conditions, law enforcement officers and the court will establish control over the official whose illegal activity has long been obvious to everyone in Transcarpathia.
We remind you that in 2016 Yuri Soima became a participant in a journalistic investigation into the theft of a forest in Transcarpathia.
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