Ukrainian Ex-Deputy Minister Jailed For Allegedly Embezzling $40 Million

A former deputy energy and coal minister in the administration of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was placed in pretrial detention for 45 days on suspicion of causing 2 billion hryvnyas ($40 million) in damages to the state.

Bail was alternately set at $240,000, the High Anti-Corruption Court ruled on January 28 in Kyiv.

Should the former government official post bail, he is ordered to obey summons by law-enforcement agencies and the courts, not to change his residence, refrain from speaking with other suspects in the case, surrender his travel passport, and wear a monitoring bracelet.

The court said the former deputy minister was allegedly involved in a scheme to sell liquefied gas at the expense of two state-owned oil and gas companies to private firms causing losses worth $40 million.

The suspect wasn’t named in the court decision, but Ukrainian media have identified him as Ihor Kiryushyn, who served as deputy energy and coal minister in 2009-2011.

In March 2017, Yuriy Lutsenko, the prosecutor-general at the time, announced the former official was arrested in Georgia.

Kiryushyn was extradited from Georgia to Ukraine on January 27.

The embezzlement scheme lasted the duration of Yanukovych’s truncated presidency, from 2010 to 2014, the anti-corruption court alleges.

Prosecutors allege Yanukovych, his family members, and cronies absconded with billions of dollars before fleeing the country amid a pro-democracy popular uprising in 2014 against his increasingly authoritarian and corrupt presidency.

From self-imposed exile in Russia, Yanukovych has denied the allegations and maintains he is the legitimate president of Ukraine.

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