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Case against corrupt minister Omelyan: The worst is ahead

Author : Yaroslav Konoshchuk

Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure is under investigation on suspicion of illegal enrichment
10:10, 18 September 2018

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Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelyan, whom the National Anti-Corruption Bureau suspects of illegal enrichment, has been released on surety. September 14, Solomyansky District Court of Kyiv has granted him a bail of the Minister for Youth and Sports Ihor Zhdanov and the deputy from the National Front faction, Fedir Bendyuzhenko, dismissing the petition of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, which asked to release the bail-out official at 180 thousand USD.

Related: SAP to intercede for seizure of Infrastructure Minister's property

Two cars and two houses case

September 13, the employees of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine have handed over suspicion to Omelyan. According to NABU, Omelyan has been in the civil service since 2000, and from January 1, 2000, to April 26, 2018, he received 77,5 thousand USD of the official income. But only in the period from 2008 to April 26, 2015, his expenses were at least 125 thousand USD.

Related: Omelyan: One kilometer of Hyperloop to cost $11 million

In 2015, while in the post of Deputy Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, the official has acquired assets. The legality of the grounds for obtaining them is not confirmed, and the value considerably exceeds its legitimate revenues. Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAP) explains law enforcement officers suspect that the minister has not properly declared the purchase of two cars and the rental of two houses. Sanction of articles of the Criminal Code provides for imprisonment for up to 10 years.

The official wrote on his Facebook page that the employees of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau gave him the suspicion of illegal enrichment for "using or buying a car for his brother and not declaring his residence in the house for two weeks in 2016."

Related: NABU suspects Infrastructure Minister of illicit enrichment

The court was attended by numerous defendants and journalists, representatives of the National Front party, (Omelyan was appointed to the Cabinet of Ministers by their quota). The prosecutor Valentin Musiyaka noted that one of the cars was nominally bought by the minister's brother, but according to the correspondence with the relative, the money belonged to the minister.

At the same time, his official income did not allow such a purchase. The prosecutor asked the court to elect a preventive measure in the form of a pledge, because, among other things, he has relatives with foreign citizenship (in the opinion of the investigation, the minister could leave the territory of Ukraine). The minister has chosen a political line of defense. Omelyan stated that "NABU detectives have dreamed the unprecedented enrichment of 28 thousand USD up."

Related: Omelyan favors limitation of bus and railway communication and visa regime with Russia

The court has rejected the petition of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office on the pledge and released Omelyan on bail of his colleague, Minister for Youth and Sports Igor Zhdanov.

"Omelyan must be given away"

After the end of the trial, the minister said that the case "should not have been opened" against him and promised to sue the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. The prosecutor, in turn, stated that SAP had collected enough evidence to show suspicion to the minister.

Why is the case against Omelyan, which has been investigated for more than one month, has come to the court? Prosecutor Valentyn Musiyaka said that the detectives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau have been gathering evidence for more than one month.

According to unofficial information, one of the reasons for the criminal case against the son of Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov Olexandr was the “self-elimination” of the Ministry of Internal Affairs during the "Saakashvili’s breakthrough." In this case, there are also a number of possible versions, why the case was given a move. Version one: an internal conflict. One of the influential deputies of the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko faction in a telephone conversation said: "It's time for pushing Omelian down... We are tired of his dreaming." It is also worth recalling that interests of leading financial and political players have intertwined in the transport industry.

Related: Only 5-7% of Ukrainians travel by planes, - Infrastructure Minister

However, it is possible that the case against the minister was the result of some external factors. It is believed that NABU informally supervises the US embassy in Ukraine. It is indicative that Prime Minister Groysman was on the side of the official, who, according to Omelyan, was ready to take him on bail, although not so long ago the head of the government publicly confronted with the minister of infrastructure during the Cabinet meeting.

On the same day, with the case against Omelyan, NABU was ordered to start an investigation into the case of former PM Yatsenyuk's associate Pavlo Petrenko. Also, there was information about the preparation of suspicion to the First Deputy Chairman of the Security Service, Pavlo Demchyn, associated with Petro Poroshenko. It is rumored that the cases and suspicions are the stimulation of the figurants’ dismissal.

Read the original text at 112.ua.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or 112.International and its owners.

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