The official has responded emphatically to allegations that public money has gone missing, and accused the previous government of having a case to answer
The Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Borys Kolesnikov, has reacted with fury to accusations that his government embezzled $4 billion (€3.15bn) of Euro 2012 funding, and insists he will take Yulia Tymoshenko's former regime to court to prove they were guilty of corruption after winning the bid to host the tournament.
Ostap Semerak, a member of the shadow cabinet, told Goal.com that up to 40 per cent of the tournament budget has disappeared and claimed that under Kolesnikov, the man with responsibility for Euro 2012, contracts have been awarded without a tender process to companies that have been accomplices in embezzlement.
He added that he has proof of corruption within the current regime and will be pressing ahead with court action once the tournament has finished.
Semerak cited the Lviv stadium, which cost around $330m (€260m) to construct, alleging he saw the same amount given in kick-backs to government ministers. Kiev's Olympic Stadium was offered as another example where corruption has taken place, costing the public purse between $500m-$550m (€395-€435m) – twice as much as the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, which was privately funded.
“The current government has used Euro 2012 and the preparation for it as a good opportunity to get money from the public purse,” he said.
“Each citizen of Ukraine has had the equivalent of £200 taken from his pocket. This is one of the biggest corruption scandals in the last 20 years."
But when asked by Goal.com to respond to those allegations Kolesnikov insisted on a personal interview and is adamant that he can account for every penny of the budget – inviting European Union investigators to delve into the accounts to prove his case.
The 49-year-old says he has proof that Tymoshenko's government were themselves guilty of corruption between the announcement in April 2007 that Ukraine and Poland would host the tournament, and her defeat in the Presidential elections of February 2010.
Kolesnikov also disputes Semerak's claim that the tournament cost $10bn to fund, stating the figure is only half of that.
“Can I account for every penny spent on this tournament? Absolutely,” said Kolesnikov. “We will ask in court for the opposition to confirm or deny the facts - the fact of [their] corruption.
“They don't have facts [that his regime have been involved in corruption] because it is impossible. We will see them in court. They have no chance as all our papers are ready.
|Can I account for every penny spent on this tournament? Absolutely
- Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister
“I would welcome the EU becoming involved as we are completely sure in our righteousness. We are ready for every kind of situation. Basically, if you want to speak about corruption it is best that you speak to the members of Yulia Tymoshenko's regime."
Kolesnikov has also promised that he will ask prosecutors to investigate Tymoshenko – who is currently serving a seven-year prison term after being found guilty for abusing her powers while in office, a sentence that has brought international condemnation – and other members of her former government immediately after Sunday's final in Kiev.
He continued: “The regime of Tymoshenko has kicked the tournament three times. Firstly, when they failed in their preparation; secondly, when they asked the world to boycott the tournament in Ukraine; and thirdly with what they are doing now [with these accusations] when they understand the tournament is going successfully. They are trying every kind of way to punish our country.
“But in any case we don't want to start any kind of judicial process during the tournament. Everybody who is speaking about corruption – well, the courts will be waiting for them, immediately after July 1.”
With Kolesnikov promising legal action, it appears certain that Semerak and other members of the Tymoshenko government will have to defend themselves in court, although if there is a change in government in October then it may be the current ruling party who come under fire.