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National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine
Detectives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) came to the son of the Minister of Internal Affairs this morning to conduct searches in the framework of investigation into the purchase of backpacks by the Ministry in 2014-2015. We recall that the criminal proceedings for procurement of backpacks for Ukrainian servicemen was opened by the Prosecutor General's Office in 2015. In connection with the changes in the legislation, the General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine (GPO) transferred this case to NABU. The investigation suspects officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in embezzlement of budgetary funds when buying 6,000 backpacks. According to the press service of NABU, back in February 2017 the case of "Avakov’s backpacks " was at the final stage of the investigation. The son of the minister, Olexander, is associated with Dniprovend company, which became a monopoly supplier of tactical backpacks.
The bureau itself specified that, in addition to the son of the Minister of the Interior Arsen Avakov, the former deputy of Avakov - Serhiy Chebotar was detained, who is believed to act in the interests of the head of the department, as well as another individual. The detainees are suspected of embezzling 14 million hryvnia. In turn, the Ministry of Internal Affairs believes that in the actions of NABU detectives have political motives. Also, the Ministry believes that the shipment of backpacks was carried out in a timely manner and in full.
"During the entire period of work as Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, unreliable information is disseminated against the minister, his family members and his closest colleagues, aimed at discrediting Arsen Avakov," the department stressed.
The minister himself also declared political pressure. It is worth noting that Serhiy Chebotar was not the first time involved in the scandal. In 2015, the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Combating Organized Crime and Corruption insisted on the removal of him from his post and the conduction of an official investigation in connection with the scandal over the supposedly owned estate near Kyiv. Soon Chebotar himself resigned and the government satisfied his statement.
Why did they come for Avakov's son?
Sources of 112.ua in the Presidential Administration and among the coalition factions note that behind the activation of the "backpacks’ case" are both political and economic reasons.
"Avakov was repeatedly warned not to abuse the negotiating procedure when holding tenders (during the negotiation procedure in Ukrainian practice, procurement takes place from one participant, especially if this purchase is stamped "secret ", - Ed.)," yhe interlocutors note.
Another reason is that there were complains about the actions of the minister on Bankova street during the "breakthrough of Saakashvili."
"This is a kind of a response to Avakov because he withdrew himself from the" breakthrough of Saakashvili, "and because of his prolonged protection of Mikhomaidan," the interlocutors note, recognizing that the president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, received political points from Saakashvili's breakthrough. It is worth noting that in the morning Arsen Avakov said that police stop the protection of the protesters.
On the sidelines of the parliament, it is also said that this story has a transatlantic trace.
"Kurt Volker, during his visit to Ukraine, warned that it is necessary to seriously engage in the implementation of the Minsk process. And, thus, they are trying to influence the position of the Narodnyi Front political faction," deputies from the coalition and opposition factions state.
Assessing the situation as a whole, 112.ua sources in the coalition believe that another round of struggle between presidential administration and the current Interior Minister Arsen Avakov is under way to control the Ministry of Internal Affairs. However, the interlocutors do not give an unambiguous answer on the question of probability of Minister’s resignation after this scandal,. Sources of 112.ua in the Administration of the President assert that this time "the first (the president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, - Ed.) is going to seriously remove Arsen (Avakov, - Ed.)." According to our interlocutors, Bankova Street long ago would like to replace Avakov by an ally of the head of state Victor Korol. At the same time, deputies from coalition factions assume that there will be no consequences for the minister, and his son will be released on bail. However, at the time of writing the article, according to media reports, Olexander Avakov was informed of suspicion, and he continues to be in the building of NABU.
In addition, the situation around Olexander Avakov, according to unofficial information, may be the subject of an emergency meeting of the Security Service. The official reason for the meeting is "recent events in Ukraine, in particular, an explosion on the evening of October 25 near the office of the Espresso TV channel in Kyiv and the murder of Donbas conflict veteran Amina Okuyeva on October 30."
"Everything will depend on the negotiations between Avakov and Poroshenko. If the parties will find a compromise, the son of the minister will be released on bail and the situation will come to an end. If president will choose a power option, the case may end in early elections to the parliament, but so far the probability of such a scenario is 20%," note 112.ua sources in the Presidential Administration.