The head of Ukraine’s Supreme Court has been detained by Ukrainian prosecutors over alleged involvement in a bribery scheme, according to the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO).
The prosecutor did not disclose the detained official’s name during the briefing, mentioning that the head of the Supreme Court had not yet been served with a formal “notice of suspicion.”
Following recent revelations of extensive corruption within the Supreme Court, Ukrainian prosecutors have taken into custody the head of the country’s highest judicial body. Although the official’s identity was not revealed, local media reports indicated that Chief Justice Vsevolod Kniaziev had been detained in connection with a $3 million bribe. Reuters was unable to reach Mr. Kniaziev for comment.
This arrest follows the Anti-Corruption Bureau’s announcement, made through their Telegram and Facebook channels, that they had collaborated with the Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office to uncover significant corruption within the Supreme Court. The investigation exposed a bribery scheme involving the court’s leadership and judges. A photograph, showing stacks of dollars neatly arranged on a sofa, was shared alongside the bureau’s statement. Reuters noted that the authenticity of the photo could not be independently verified.
Local media outlets have reported that Mr. Kniaziev’s arrest occurred, and it is expected that he will receive an official “notice of suspicion” within 24 hours of being detained. Ukrainian politician Oleksiy Goncharenko remarked that this arrest represents the highest-ranking official in the country’s history to be apprehended for bribery.
Ukraine’s fight against corruption has been a prerequisite for the country’s potential membership in the European Union, which consists of 27 member states. Despite progress in combating corruption in recent years, Ukraine currently ranks 116th out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.
During Tuesday’s briefing, NABU director Semen Kryvonos emphasized the bureau’s commitment to addressing high-level corruption, stating, “Through tangible cases and concrete actions, we are demonstrating our priorities: tackling top-level corruption and criminal organizations within the highest echelons of power.”
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) last week unveiled a new $1.2 billion aid package for Ukraine to enhance its air defense capabilities and address its artillery ammunition requirements. The U.S. assistance falls under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI).
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