Ukraine's anti-corruption agency detains interior minister's son

Ukraine's anti-corruption agency detains interior minister's son
The son of Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov (pictured) is suspected of embezzling more than UAH14mn ($520,500) in a procurement deal with the National Guard
By Sergei Kuznetsov in Kyiv November 1, 2017

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), the country's main antigraft body, has detained Oleksandr Avakov, son of the Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, on suspicion of embezzling more than UAH14mn ($520,500) on October 31.

Two other persons were also detained - deputy head of the Interior Ministry Serhiy Chebotar and a local businessman. They were allegedly involved in procuring backpacks at the expense of the ministry to the National Guard at a price much higher than the average market price, according to the NABU's statement published the same day.

According to the information of the pre-trial investigation, the goods were not delivered on time and besides did not meet the requirements established by the interior ministry, as a result of which the state suffered financial losses.

The NABU has become increasingly active over the past year. The most prominent official the agency accused of corruption was Mykola Martynenko, an ex-MP and close associate of former prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was briefly detained by law enforcers for suspected embezzlement.

Earlier, NABU detained the head of Ukraine’s State Fiscal Service, Roman Nasirov, who allegedly provided restructuring of rent payments for gas production companies associated with fugitive Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksandr Onyshchenko. Nasirov is accused of giving an order that cost the state budget UAH2bn. 

On October 31, Ukraine's Interior Ministry said in a statement that the NABU's actions provide grounds for a new information campaign directed against the minister.

"There are obviously domestic and foreign backers, whose intention is restoring the old corrupt system of [illegal] protection and behind-the-stage dealing. NABU is engaging in political, but not legal, actions," the statement reads. "This is unacceptable and requires immediate correction."

In October, the NABU and the Specialised Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) said they are investigating possible involvement of senior officials of the country's Defence Ministry into alleged embezzling over UAH149mn ($5.6mn) in state funds during the purchase of fuel for the ministry.