Monday, 30 December 2013
Beaten Reporter Planned Yanukovych Expose
KIEV, Ukraine -- Tetiana Chornovil, an anti-government protest activist who survived a ferocious attack by three assailants on Tuesday, said she was about to report on a previously unknown lavish mansion allegedly owned by President Viktor Yanukovych. Chornovil, who is also a journalist, for several years worked to expose alleged massive corruption schemes involving the family of Yanukovych and his closest allies. She once even sneaked into Yanukovych’s super-protected property known as Mezhyhiriya in Novi Petrivtsi to take pictures of palaces and other properties before she had been detained by his guards. But the new mansion apparently dwarfs and outclasses the president’s Mezhihiriya property, which is the size of London ’s Hyde Park . “The attack may have been caused by the fact that I had recently discovered Yanukovych’s new ‘Mezhyhiriya,’ not the one in Novi Petrivtsi, but the one in Koncha Zaspa that he has built and that is even more luxurious than the previous one. It only needs to be finished,” Chornovil told Channel 5 television from her hospital bed. Chornovil was attacked late night on Tuesday as three unknown assailants had rammed her car on a highway just outside Kiev . She tried to escape, but was chased and savagely beaten by the assailants. The new revelations may shed more light on what caused the attack on the activist, leaving her with a concussion, a broken nose and multiple bruises on a disfigured face. On the day of the attack Chornovil traced down and visited lavish residences of Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko and Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka, both close allies of Yanukovych. She managed to publish photos of Zakharchenko’s home in her blog just hours before the attack. Pictures from Pshonka’s property have not yet been published. The ferocious attack was captured by her dashboard camera, while the video was taken and released on Youtube by opposition lawmakers and activists who had arrived to the scene before the police. The video captured the license plates of the black SUV Porsche Cayenne and the three assailants, leading to the detention of two alleged attackers on Wednesday. A third alleged attacker was detained by police on Thursday and is currently being questioned by investigators, the Interior Ministry reported. The name the attacker was not disclosed, but the ministry on Wednesday named Serhiy Kotenko as the only suspect at large in the case. “Police detained the third suspect wanted in the case in line with the investigation of the criminal case," the ministry said in a statement. Kotenko, who apparently owns the SUV that has rammed Chornovol’s car, was earlier reported to have been involved in a raider attack on a TVi television channel. Hundreds of protesters on Thursday marched to the residence of Zakharchenko that had been mentioned in Chornovol’s blog to demand his resignation. “Here lives the butcher” sign was put by the protesters on the fence along with Zakharchenko’s portrait covered in red paint.