The mayor of Odessa Gennadiy Trukhanov is said to have been a member of a criminal gang from Odessa and to have owned significant shares in four foreign companies in British tax havens, according to reporting by the BBC.
Trukhanov is alleged to have been member of a criminal group that earned money from the oil industry.
In the 1990s, during the collapse of the USSR, members of the group based in Italy are alleged to been involved in smuggling drugs and weapons.
“For four years anti-mafia investigators have followed their steps and pursued members of the group across the continent. The police have recorded their phone conversations and what the men were telling was extremely cruel,” the BBC said.
Despite the evidence from wiretapped telephone conversations, most gang members were never charged because their crimes were not committed in Italy. After the anti-mafia investigation ended Trukhanov returned to Odessa to begin his political career.
The Paradise Papers documents gave investigative journalists access to the documentation of the Appleby law firm which provides offshore services.
As a result, it became known that London-based accountant Alexander Popivker had founded and led Appleby with dozens of offshore companies known as the Rubicon Group. Some of these companies used members of the Odessa gang, which, according to the BBC, included the mayor of Odessa.
“The Paradise Papers indicate that Gennadiy Trukhanov had large stakes in Appleby’s four offshore companies.” The companies are said to have primarily been used as a front for money laundering.
Trukhanov has denied the reports from the published information, saying that the allegations are designed to “damage his honor, dignity and reputation”.