Ukraine's suspended tax chief Nasirov case takes a step closer to trial

Ukraine's suspended tax chief Nasirov case takes a step closer to trial
By bne IntelliNews November 13, 2017

The Specialised Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine (SAPO) has sent to court an indictment against Roman Nasirov, the suspended head of Ukraine's State Fiscal Service, a media office of the nation's main anti-graft agency, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), said in a statement on November 10.

Nasirov’s case is seen by some as a litmus test for Ukraine’s commitment to stamping out corruption. At the time of his arrest Nasirov was called one of the first big fish to indicted on graft charges as he was from President Petro Poroshenko inner circle. While he was charged it has been assumed by many that Nasirov will never actually go on trial, and even if he does it is unlikely that he will be convicted and jailed, despite overwhelm evidence of guilt. The fact that this case is moving towards trial at all is in itself progress.  

Ukrainian anti-corruption authorities allege that Nasirov 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 (€70mn). In March, Nasirov was released from custody in Kyiv after his wife posted the UAH100mn (€3.5mn) bail in cash.

Ukraine's parliament has sanctioned the criminal prosecution, detention and arrest of Onyshchenko, a member of the Volia Narodu (People's Will) parliamentary group, in connection with alleged fraud schemes with gas sold together with the Ukrgazvydobuvannia gas company.

Onyshchenko, who denies any wrongdoing, fled Ukraine and announced his intention to seek political asylum in the UK. On December 1, 2016, Ukraine's SBU security service said it had put Onyshchenko on the national wanted list for treason.

According to the NABU's statement, the pre-trial investigation of the Nasirov case was completed in July, after which Nasirov and his defence lawyers were examining the investigation materials for more than three months.