Ukrainian authorities expose piles of cash in Supreme Court corruption probe

(Reuters) – Ukraine’s anti-corruption authorities said on Monday they were investigating large-scale corruption in the country’s Supreme Court system and shared a photo of stacks of dollars neatly lined up on a sofa.

The National Anti-Corruption Office of Ukraine (NABU) did not name anyone accused of corruption, but two local media organizations reported that Supreme Court President Vsevolod Kniaziev had been detained on suspicion of receiving a $3 million bribe.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the reports.

The country’s anti-corruption authorities posted the photograph on its Facebook page, which said the discovery followed investigations by NABU and the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s (SAP) office.

“NABU and SAP have exposed large-scale corruption in the Supreme Court, namely a scheme for leaders and Supreme Court judges to receive bribes,” the office said in the publication. “Emergency investigative actions are underway.”

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Dzerkalo Tyzhnia, a local news website, and online outlet Ukrayinska Pravda quoted anonymous officials as saying Knyaziev had been detained without providing further details.

Reuters could not immediately reach Knyaziev for comment after normal business hours.

Dzerkalo Tyzhnia quoted his source as saying the money came from backers of Ukrainian billionaire Kostyantyn Zhevago, who was arrested in France in December at Kiev’s request in connection with embezzlement charges.

The businessman told the court that he did nothing wrong and should not be extradited.

The money came from supporters of a court decision in April favoring pellet producer Ferrexpo Plc, Dzerkalo Tyzhnia said, citing his source. He said that another 18 Supreme Court justices who heard the Ferrexpo case are now being registered.

The case involved a buyback of around 40.2% of the shares of the company’s Ukrainian subsidiary, Ferrexpo Poltava Mining, which was sold to Zhevago and other parties.

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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