Breitbart News has uncovered a photograph of a Russian woman exiting what looks like wealthy Democratic Party donor Dr. Salomon Melgen’s plane.
The original source of the scandal surrounding Melgen and New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, a tipster who goes by “Peter Williams,” first told ABC News’ Rhonda Schwartz about this woman in early 2012. “Williams” identified her as “Svetlana B.”
“This girl is one of the most regular participants in the activities the Doctor arranges for the Senator,” the tipster “Williams” wrote to Schwartz in June 2012 in an email later published online and in the Miami Herald, about the Russian woman. “She has traveled with them in the jet, sailed with them in the yacht, and has repeatedly visited the Doctor’s house.”
The Miami Herald uncovered the woman’s real name: Svitlana Buchyk. “Sveta” and “Svetlana” appear to be other spellings for her name.
Melgen, a wealthy ophthalmologist and frequent donor to high-level national Democrats, employed Buchyk at one time. She confirmed her previous employment with Melgen in an interview with The Miami Herald but would not say what services she provided for him.
The Herald said she “was eager to defend Melgen — particularly when asked about stories of Melgen’s alleged sexual liaisons with prostitutes.”
“He is an amazing person,” Buchyk said, apparently adding that many other women would have loved to spend time with Melgen. “He was always with his family. There is nothing else I can say.”
“He treated me well,” Buchyk added. “He had money. He was very generous.”
Under the photo of Buchyk exiting the plane–which she posted on her Flickr account–she wrote a caption: “On my way home yeayyyyy.”
Her Flickr account was opened in May 2012 and the photo was posted on May 9, 2012. That time frame is around when the tipster “Williams” began communicating with ABC’s Schwartz and the George Soros-funded Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
It is unclear where and when the photo was taken, but the Flickr account says it was taken in Hawaii.
In the corner of the photo, two characters from the tail number of the plane are visible: the letter “G,” preceded by what could be either an “L,” “Z,” or “E.” The rest of the number is cut off.
Photos of Melgen’s plane–which bears the tail number “N900LG”–from before Melgen bought the plane show the aircraft in Buchyk’s photo and his bear identical paint jobs and look like the same plane.
In addition to that, a bill of lading document published online and obtained by Breitbart News shows Buchyk–while in Barcelona, Spain, in 2009–shipped a package to herself at a United States address. That U.S. address was 2521 Metrocentre Blvd, West Palm Peach, Florida–the address of Dr. Melgen’s eye clinic.
That eye clinic address is the same location the FBI raided last week, FBI spokesman James Marshall confirmed to Breitbart News. “The only information we are providing is that we are conducting law enforcement activity in the general vicinity of 2521 Metrocentre Blvd, West Palm Beach, FL,” Marshall said in an email.
It is unclear what Buchyk does for a living or did for Melgen. She has not responded to Breitbart News’ request for an interview or for a comment.
On a website using her full name as its domain, Buchyk posted several provocative photographs and videos of herself.
The website does not have much written about her or what she does for a living. A Facebook page Breitbart News has been able to identify gives no further insight into her vocation but does suggest that she now lives in New York City and is trying her hand at acting and modeling.
Buchyk’s relationship with Melgen appears to have spanned several years. The plane photograph was posted in May 2012. The shipping bill of laden from Barcelona to Melgen’s office was from January 2009.
And The Miami Herald reported that Buchyk “got into a minor crash while driving a Chevrolet Impala on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables in 2010.”
“The car belonged to Melgen’s wife,” the Herald reports. “Buchyk gave Melgen’s North Palm Beach address as her own.”
Melgen appears to have engaged in a pattern of longer-term relationships with other women. For example, a Florida circuit court judge in 2002 determined that Melgen paid $700.000 for a long-term “intimate romantic relationship.”
“In 1998, [Yuddehiris] Dorrejo came to Florida and met Solomon [sic] Melgen (Melgen) at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Palm Beach County,” Circuit Court Judge John Wessel wrote in his legal determination of the facts. “Thereafter, an intimate romantic relationship developed.”
After that romantic relationship developed as a result of the meeting at the hotel, Wessel said “Dorrejo entered into an oral agreement with VRC [Vitreo-Retinal Consultants, Inc.].” VRC is Melgen’s eye clinic company.
“The substance of the agreement was Dorrejo’s interest in a Vertigo franchise located in the Dominican Republic, and VRC, by and through Melgen, agreed to finance the franchise by a loan from VRC,” the judge wrote.
Vertigo is a designer fashion brand similar to Gucci or Prada. It appears Melgen bought Dorrejo the whole store instead of a single gift item.
According to the judge, Melgen claimed that “such a large sum of money would not be deposited by a normal person as a gift for a romantic relationship.”
But since there were no legal records of the loan created when Melgen gave Dorrejo the $700,000, the judge ended up interpreting it as a gift in exchange for the long-term romantic relationship.
The reason this issue came up in court is because, after the relationship appears to have gone sour, Melgen sued Dorrejo to try to get his money back. Because Melgen could produce no promissory notes or loan documents of any kind, the judge dismissed the case and Dorrejo got to keep the money.
Breaking the story on November 1, 2012, this reporter interviewed two Dominican Republic prostitutes who say Senator Menendez underpaid them for sex around Easter-time this year. Menendez and Melgen both deny those allegations.
Breitbart News’ Michael Patrick Leahy contributed to this report.