Paul Schockemöhle has confirmed to the German website St. Georg.de that he has bought no less than 44 horses from Ukraine’s Alexander Onischenko. Schockemöhle has not commented on which of Onischenko’s horses he has bought, or if any of Team Ukraine's Olympic-prospects are on the transfer list.
The announcement of the sale of the 44 horses follows the reports that have surfaced over the last couple of weeks, with Onischenko being accused of involvement in a corruption case in Ukraine. However, as a member of the parliament in the country, Onischenko has enjoyed immunity towards criminal prosecution – but this immunity has now been lifted which again could lead to his arrest.
Ukraine is qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio in August, and their participation could now be in danger as the horses that the Ukrainian riders will be competing with are all owned or co-owned by Onischenko who also funds much of the team's activities. To St. Georg, Schockemöhle states that the goal still is that the Ukrainian riders can participate at the Olympic Games in Rio which could mean that none of the horses on the Ukrainian Olympic long-list are included in the transaction. Still, it remains to be seen if any of Onischencko's assets will be frozen through legal steps in conjunction with the corruption case in Ukraine – which again could mean that horses in his ownership would not be allowed to compete in Rio.
Should Ukraine not be able to send a team to Rio, Ireland will move up from their reserve position to take over the spot.
Source: www.st-george.de // Text © World of Showjumping // Picture © Jenny Abrahamsson
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