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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Yanukovych's palace – a monument to greed, corruption and truly terrible taste

Roland Oliphant

Published 27/02/2014 | 02:30

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President Viktor Yanukovych's presidential estate
President Viktor Yanukovych's presidential estate
President Viktor Yanukovych's presidential estate
President Viktor Yanukovych's presidential estate
President Viktor Yanukovych's presidential estate
President Viktor Yanukovych's presidential estate

Those sifting through the sumptuous private home of former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych were stunned by the lavish expenditure of the man forced to flee.

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Mr Yanukovych's official annual salary as president was close to $100,000 (about €73,000), but documents allegedly showed money transfers worth, in some cases, millions of dollars from unknown individuals to local bank accounts – cash transfers that are illegal in Ukraine.

His 140-acre estate has become a public monument to greed, corruption and astoundingly poor taste. The estate boasts a five-storey mansion, a luxury car collection, a greenhouse full of banana plants and a personal zoo including ostriches and peacocks.

The elaborate duck houses that dotted the ornamental lakes around the grounds are the least of the extravagances.

The star attraction, however, is a hideous galleon-shaped banqueting hall moored on the river where visitors discovered personalised table wear and a vast stock of expensive wines and spirits.

While parliament mulls what to do with the estate – suggestions include an orphanage and a hospice for the terminally ill – the activists who occupied it have thrown the gates open to the public.

Entry to what has become known as "the museum of corruption" was free of charge between the hours of 9am and 4pm last weekend. Traffic jams formed in the streets surrounding the palace as families, young couples and weekenders flocked to the site to play golf with Mr Yanukovych's clubs and stroll through the woods.

"It's simply incredible," said one activist touring the grounds. "And the taste of the man! Putting mock Greek ruins next to a traditional Russian house surrounded by renaissance mosaics. It explains everything," said one visitor. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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