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16 May, 2023 08:47

Chair of Ukrainian Supreme Court arrested over $3 million bribe

Anti-corruption authorities have suggested that other judges may be implicated in the scheme
Chair of Ukrainian Supreme Court arrested over $3 million bribe

Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) has detained the chair of the country’s Supreme Court, Vsevolod Knyazev, local media have reported. He is allegedly suspected of receiving a $2.7 million bribe as part of a scheme that may involve other officials.

In a Facebook post late on Monday, NABU said it had “uncovered large-scale corruption in the Supreme Court, namely a scheme that allowed the leadership and judges to receive illicit profit.” The bureau added that an “urgent” investigation was under way, and that details would be provided in due course.

In a separate message on Tuesday, NABU announced a press conference on the case at midday local time in Kiev.

While officials have stopped short of revealing any names, several Ukrainian media outlets have cited anonymous sources as claiming that Knyazev was taken into custody.

Ukraine’s highest judicial body indirectly confirmed the news by posting a message on Facebook, stating that “in light of what is happening around Supreme Court chair Knyazev, an extraordinary meeting of the Supreme Court’s plenum will take place on May 16, 2023.

According to ZN.UA, citing unnamed sources in NABU, authorities have conducted searches at properties belonging to 18 other Supreme Court judges.

Sergey Leshenko, an adviser to the head of Ukraine’s presidential office, cited a bribe totaling $3 million when discussing Knyazev with the media. Vitaly Kim, governor of Nikolaev Oblast, gave a figure of $2.7 million.

The Strana media outlet claimed that Knyazev had received the money from Ukrainian oligarch Konstantin Zhevago, who is currently in France but is wanted in his homeland for his role in the collapse of a bank.

Earlier this month, Ukraine’s High Anti-Corruption Court ordered the arrest of Odessa Mayor Gennady Trukhanov over allegations of misusing city funds dating back to 2017.

NABU conducted raids in the Zhitomirsky and Kharkov regional military administrations in April.