In Kyiv, over 1,500 people invested into what they thought would be new apartments in the new apartment buildings, but managers of the construction company they invested in grabbed the money - $100 million - and ran. The company's (idiotic) name is Elite Center (Elita-Tsentr) - or at least this is the (idiotic) name the crooks were hiding behind. Korrespondent.net has a story (in Russian) that explains the scheme, or is at least trying to, but I find it all too confusing.
An earlier Korrespondent.net story (in Russian) has quotes from the poor investors:
[...] Vladimir Kovalchuk says he sold his gostinka apartment [a really tiny place with a tiny kitchen], and " we ended with nothing in the street. We've invested all the money we got from the apartment sale into this construction."
Maria Vorkina paid 30 percent of the money for the apartment in July. "In August, I sold my apartment in another town and paid the rest of the amount, and I also got a bank loan for that. Now I don't have an apartment, I'm renting one, and at the same time I owe money to the bank."
A pensioner Tatyana Sukhina said that "in order to buy air behind the fence, we sold a three-room apartment. To have a place to live, we bought a gostinka apartment, and invested the rest ($35,000) into the one-room apartment that's being built." Now Tatyana, her two grown-up children and a granddaughter live in a gostinka. "They were bullshitting us and we, the fools, believed them." [...]
I don't see the logic of this last one - selling three rooms to buy one - but it doesn't change anything.
To make things even worse, most of the apartments in the yet unbuilt building have been sold at least twice.
It's like the 1990s are back...