• Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Fraud case catches up with Ukrainian head of FA

The head of the Ukraine Football Association (UAF), Andriy Pavelko, will spend the coming 60 days in a detention centre pending the start of a trial on fraud and money laundering charges relating to the construction of a synthetic turf factory.

Pavelko is accused of embezzling the equivalent of GBP 600,000.

The UAF has condemned the decision, describing it as “politically motivated.”

It said in a statement: “We at the Ukrainian Football Association consider this decision to have no legal basis and is politically motivated, and the UAF lawyers have already filed an appeal.

“The transfer of the case from Kyiv to Lviv and the speed of decision-making raise questions not only among lawyers, but also among ordinary people who are not familiar with legal intricacies.

“Also, UAF lawyers will appeal to international institutions in order to prove the groundlessness of the arrest of Andriy Pavelek, who is also a member of the UEFA executive committee. In addition, documents are being prepared for submission to the European Court of Human Rights.”

International links

The case revolves around the claim that the UAF had overpaid a company from the United Arab Emirates, with which the national football governing body cooperated to build a synthetic turf producing factory.

Denys Bugai, a lawyer acting for the football body, admits that overpayments had been made but that they had later been reclaimed by the football association.

He said that the cash had not re-emerged on the UAF’s balance sheet, as it had been paid via a third company.

It is believed that this company is Softex, an Italian company owned by former Italian referee Pierluigi Collina. Softex was a creditor in the project. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Collina, who oversaw refereeing in Ukrainian football between 2012 and 2015.

Pavelko has been leading the UAF since 2015 and served as a member of FIFA’s disciplinary body for two years up to 2020.

According to FIFA, he resigned from the body after being ordered to pay a fine for “publicly criticising a decision” taken by colleagues on the disciplinary committee at the World Cup in Russia. He has kept his position at UEFA after elections at the UEFA ordinary congress in April.

 

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