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Ukraine officials reveal hidden wealth

Inside Ukraine ex-President's lavish estate

Ukraine is a poor country, but its politicians are rich beyond your wildest dreams.

Ukrainian government officials were forced to report their wealth and holdings in a searchable database designed to promote transparency and root out corruption.

The resulting list of luxury is overwhelming. Alligator coats, expensive watches, millions in cash, Fabergé eggs and a yacht are just some of the items that officials have reported.

The extravagance stands in stark contrast to the earnings of the general population. The average wage in Ukraine barely clears $2,000 per year, and soldiers defending the country against pro-Russian forces are working for measly salaries.

The disclosures provoked outrage among Ukrainians on social media.

The head of the tax office, Roman Nasirov, declared he had more than $2 million in cash and owned fur coats, luxury watches, a wine collection and apartments, among other things.

Nasirov heads an anti-corruption campaign to sniff out abuse in a goverment that ranks as one of the most corrupt in the world — just above Nigeria and Tajikistan, according to an annual ranking by Transparency International.

ukrainian wealth
Ukrainian government officials reported owning items like Fabergé eggs, Hermes bags and alligator coats.

Other opulent, or downright strange, items reported by Ukrainian officials include:

  • Holy relics of an Orthodox Christian saint. (The member of parliament who declared the item immediately said he would donate it to a church.)
  • A ticket to space on a commercial spaceship. (Held by a city mayor.)
  • A private church. (Owned by a member of parliament.)

More than 80,000 officials reported their holdings in the database, though not all reports contained eyebrow-raising luxuries. Many officials reported modest holdings.

Related: What are the super rich buying? Cars, cars, cars

Ukraine, a country of about 44 million people, is working to improve its economy and cut out corruption after coming to the brink of financial collapse in 2014. Russia’s seizure of the Ukrainian region of Crimea in March 2014 accelerated Ukraine’s downfall.

In early 2015, Ukraine negotiated a $40 billion international bailout, which included $17.5 billion from the International Monetary Fund.

The money came with strict conditions for how Ukraine would reform its economy. The IMF said the country has made strides in some areas, including rebooting the banking industry. But it said tackling corruption has been much slower than expected.