In the general structure of criminality in Ukraine a special place is occupied with crimes concerned with corporate raiding. Here, I focus attention on two articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine: obstruction of legitimate economic activity (Article 206) and illegal seizure of property of an enterprise, institution, or organisation (Article 206-2).
Firstly, it should be stressed that mentioned articles are not concerned only with activities of big corporations. Moreover, as practice show, they are used for the aims of prevention of illegal “conquests” of small legal entities.
Secondly, it should be stressed that Ukraine is a bug agricultural country which supply food to many states of the European Union.
Moreover, Ukraine is one of the three largest exporters of agricultural products to the EU (the USA and Brazil occupy the first two places). According to the official data of the European Commission statistics, Ukraine has supplied to EU production by 7 billion euros.
The EU is interested in transparent and stable agricultural market in Ukraine that is important from the point of view of safety of products and minimizing money-laundering in the Ukrainian agricultural sector.
At the same time, one of the most dangerous problems both for the Ukrainian justice and the agricultural market is a problem of a corporate raiding.
Of course, this is a question of peacetime, but at the same time, the war also exacerbates this issue as much as possible. If in peacetime national and local quasi-elites were highly interested in the existence of the phenomenon of permanent corporate raiding in Ukraine, then during the 2022 Russian invasion this phenomenon hid even more in the twilight.
Every year the spring-summer-autumn news from Ukraine demonstrates numerous examples of corporate raiding of lands, fields, enterprises, utility premises, agricultural machinery, plants, factories etc., which is often “supported” with violent actions and used of firearms.
But what about statistics?
Unfortunately, the official statistics say nothing about corporate raiding in Ukraine. As a result, it seems that there is no corporate raiding in Ukraine.
Instead of corporate raiding, there is only a Soviet-style shaped “unauthorised action” (Article 356 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) which provide punishment for “unauthorised action, that is doing anything contrary to the rules established by law, where the lawfulness of such acts is challenged by an individual citizen, an enterprise, institution or organisation, and where such acts caused any substantial damage to the interests of a citizen, state and public interests, or interests of the owner”.
Let us analyse an issue of the corporate raiding in Ukraine in the light of general official crime statistics.
Crime statistics from the Office of Public Prosecutor for the last 10 years indicate that, on average, for the period 2013 – 2021, suspicions were reported in almost 40% of all criminal proceedings open in Ukraine.
The same indicator for the period of 9 months of 2022 is 35%.
At the same time, the same indicator under Article 206 of the Criminal Code the period of 2013 – 2021 is 3,64%. The same indicator for the period of 9 months of 2022 is 2,78%.
A similar indicator under Article 206-2 of the Criminal Code for the period 2014 – 2021 is 10,04% and 4,76% for the period of 9 months of 2022.
Analysing the percentage of criminal proceedings under Articles 206 and 206-2 of the Criminal Code in the total number of criminal proceedings, the conclusions are disappointing, especially considering that, firstly, these crimes are by no means characterized by latency (because of the activities of the victims), and, secondly, most of crimes of corporate raiding “are driven” by investigators and prosecutors under abstract “unauthorised action”.
In the end, we have another clear example that the presence of criminal law prohibitions is not a guarantee that quasi-elites will be interested in limiting themselves to an illegal source of income.
As a conclusion to this part of our analysis, we should point out that the problem of corporate raiding is a “cut” of the problem of corruption in the area of justice and activities of law-enforcement bodies in Ukraine.