On June 12, 2020, the Detectives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) under the procedural guidance of the prosecutors of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor`s Office (SAPO) detained a group of persons, who tried to give an improper advantage in the amount of USD 5 million to the NABU official and the SAPO Head. Those people were detained in accordance with Article 208 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine.
On June 13, 2020, on a media briefing, Artem Sytnyk and Nazar Kholodnytsky announced the details about the case. In exchange for the improper advantage, the officials had to terminate the case in which the ex-Minister of Ecology is a suspect. In the fall of 2019, the Prosecutor General’s Office sent the case to NABU according to the jurisdiction.
“NABU and SAPO investigate a criminal proceeding, in which the former Minister of Ecology of Ukraine is a suspect.
The investigation is stopped; the official was put on wanted list. We have received data that some persons want to close this case for an improper advantage. The total amount of bribe amounted to USD 6 million: USD 5 million for the executives of anti-corruption agencies for closing the case and USD 1 million for the intermediary for "consulting services,” said the SAPO Head Nazar Kholodnytsky.
“The case in which the improper advantage was offered concerns possible involvement of the ex-minister in the embezzlement and further legalization of the stabilization loan funds granted by the National Bank of Ukraine to the PJSC “Real Bank”. At the time of committing a crime, the “Real Bank” was controlled by a criminal organization with the involvement of officials in the administration of former President Viktor Yanukovych. A number of persons, including the former minister, were given notices of suspicion,” said the NABU Director Artem Sytnyk.
According to him, on June 3, 2020, the criminal proceeding as of the facts of attempt to bribe the NABU and SAPO executives was registered. Only 9 days have passed since the moment when the criminal plan became known, until the moment of detentions. The hasty actions of people trying to give a bribe were connected with the approach of the day of birth of Mr. Minister. "According to our data, until this day they planned to reach a final solution - the closure of the proceeding and, as a result, the return of the ex-Minister to Ukraine,’’ said Artem Sytnyk.
Among the suspects there are:
- First Deputy Head of the Main Department of the State Tax Service of Ukraine (STSU) in Kyiv;
- one of the executives of a group of companies affiliated with the former Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of the times of the President Yanukovych;
- former Head of one of the Departments of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine, a trustee for the Minister of Ecology.
The official of the STSU, who acted as an intermediary, was given a notice of suspicion of committing a crime under Part 5 Article 27, Part 4 Article 369 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
The mentioned person, as the investigation found out, received funds from people connected with the former Minister of Ecology. He estimated the decision to close the criminal proceeding at USD 6 million, of which USD 1 million he planned to keep.
On June 13, 2020, two more persons have got notices of suspicion. First Deputy Head of the Main Department of the State Tax Service of Ukraine is suspected of committing a crime under Part 4 Article 369, and former Head of one of the Departments of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine – under Part 5 Article 27, Part 4 Article 369.
During June 14-15, 2020, the High Anti-Corruption Court chose preventive measures in a form of temporary custody with the following amounts of alternative bail:
- UAH 84.08 million for the First Deputy Head of the Main Department of the State Tax Service of Ukraine in Kyiv;
- UAH 40.36 million for one of the executives of a group of companies affiliated with the former Minister;
- UAH 120 million UAH for the former Head of one of the Departments of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine.
According to Part 1 Article 62 of the Constitution of Ukraine a person is considered not-guilty in commission of a crime and cannot be a subject to criminal punishment, until he or she is found guilty by the court.