Ukraine’s anti-corruption searches reveal luxurious watches, vehicles and hundreds of {dollars} in money


Ukrainian authorities have performed a collection of anti-corruption raids throughout the nation, uncovering stashes of money in addition to luxurious watches and vehicles.

Amongst these caught up within the investigations is the appearing head of the Kyiv tax authority, who was allegedly a part of a scheme to miss 45 billion Ukrainian hryvnia ($1.2 billion) in unpaid taxes.

On Wednesday, the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) mentioned that it had discovered a whole lot of hundreds of {dollars} in money, in addition to luxurious watches and vehicles, on the tax chief’s residence. CNN is making an attempt to achieve that particular person for remark.

The Ukrainian Safety Service (SBU) mentioned the raids have been a part of an effort to fight what they described as “the interior enemy” within the nation.

“Each prison who has the audacity to hurt Ukraine, particularly in occasions of struggle, should clearly perceive that we are going to handcuff his palms,” mentioned Vasyl Maliuk, head of the SBU, in a press release.

Cash found during a search of the head of the Kyiv tax office.

The raids come as President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned his authorities is engaged on “new reforms” that may make the nation “extra human, clear and efficient” as he prepares to fulfill European Union officers on Friday for talks on Ukraine’s doable accession to the bloc.

Anti-corruption measures are “an essential dimension of the EU accession course of,” mentioned Ana Pisonero, a spokesperson for the European Fee, on January 24.

Varied raids happened on Wednesday together with a search of former inside minister Arsen Avakov’s property, which was tied to an investigation into the January 18 helicopter crash that killed 14 folks.

Avakov was inside minister when the ‘Tremendous Puma’ ES-225 helicopter concerned within the crash was bought from France as a part of a contract signed in 2018. On Wednesday, he denied any wrongdoing and mentioned that the contracts have been accepted by parliament.

As is customary, Ukrainian authorities have mentioned they’re investigating all doable causes of the helicopter crash, together with pilot error, technical malfunction and sabotage.

The SBU additionally accused the “former administration” of Ukraine’s largest oil extraction and refinery corporations of the “misappropriation” of $1.1 billion.

“It was established that the unlawful mechanisms have been mixed with tax evasion and cash laundering,” mentioned the SBU.

A handout photo provided by the Ukraine State Bureau of Investigation.

Oil corporations PJSC Ukrnafta and PJSC Ukrtatnafta have been nationalized final yr as a part of Ukraine’s martial regulation.

High managers at PJSC Ukrtatnafta have been served with a discover of suspicion of committing prison offenses, in accordance with the SBU.

The SBU additionally mentioned that it had charged the Ministry of Protection’s former head for procurement with embezzlement over the acquisition of hundreds of substandard protecting vests.

The official spent the equal of $2.7 million on nearly 3,000 bulletproof vests for the Ukrainian armed forces which have been later discovered to be unable to “correctly shield Ukrainian troopers.”

The SBU mentioned that the official was charged with “misappropriation, embezzlement or seizure of property by way of abuse of workplace,” obstruction of the armed forces, and “committing a prison offense by a gaggle of individuals.”

The SBU mentioned that the person confronted 5 to eight years in jail, and had recalled the sub-standard vests.

“As well as, the SBU is conducting investigative actions in opposition to different officers within the safety and protection sector who could also be concerned in unlawful actions that hurt state safety. It is a set of measures geared toward strengthening the protection capabilities of our state.”

The raids come after Zelensky fired a slew of senior Ukrainian officers amid a rising corruption scandal linked to the procurement of war-time provides, within the largest shakeup of his authorities since Russia’s invasion started.

David Arakhamia, the parliamentary majority chief, mentioned that authorities have been conducting a “spring raid marketing campaign as an alternative of sowing marketing campaign.”

“The nation will change throughout the struggle,” Arakhamia mentioned. “If somebody is just not prepared for change, the state will come and assist them change.”

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