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Ukraine finance minister says he was told to support corruption or resign

Ukraine finance minister says he was told to support corruption or resign
At the time when Kiev is seeking to get another tranche of the stalled $17.5 billion aid from the IMF, Ukraine’s Finance Minister Aleksandr Danylyuk is accusing Prime Minister Vladimir Groysman of corruption.

Danylyuk asserts that Groysman gave him a choice of supporting “political corruption” or quitting after the latter officially asked the parliament to sack the finance minister.

The two ministers have a long history of complicated relations – after Groysman rejected Danylyuk’s candidate for deputy minister in charge of tax policy, Danylyuk accused him of backing candidates from the inner circle of President Petro Poroshenko.

According to Danylyuk, he was pushed to back spending programs for socio-economic development in Ukraine’s regions. “Translated into human language, it is the distribution of money to the projects of... lawmakers. This – political corruption – is known by people as ‘buckwheat,’” he said. “Buckwheat” means bribing voters with food or other goods during an election campaign. Ukraine will hold presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019.

Their brawl comes ahead of crucial negotiations between Ukraine and the IMF. Kiev has received no money from the IMF since April 2017, which it needs to curb ballooning debt. Ukraine is due to repay $15 billion of debt between now and the end of 2020.

Groysman has rejected the allegations. “The dissemination of distorted information among our international partners on the eve of important negotiations with the EU could jeopardize their results,” he wrote on Facebook.

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