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Wiretapping of Kholodnytsky: All you need to know about scandal around SAPO Head

Source : 112 Ukraine

“Bugs” on the acquarium, rumors of investigation and possible resignation of the Head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, denial of resignation rumors and confirmation of investigation rumors. We tell you what we know about the wiretapping of Nazar Kholodnytsky as of right now and what to expect of this situation in the future.
20:39, 29 March 2018

Slovoidilo

A bugging device has been installed in the office occupied by the Head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office. This is a fact already confirmed by the Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko and Kholodnytsky himself.

The Head of the SAPO claimed a “device similar to a tapping device has been found”, adding that he did not know whom it belonged to.

The Prosecutor General on air of a TV-channel confirmed the fact of ongoing criminal investigation of Kholodnytsky saying this:

“As the result of certain interrogations, examinations, I can speak of signs of criminal violations recorded by wiretapping devices that have been planted in the office occupied by the Head of the SAPO”.

Ukrainska Pravda wrote that the “bugs” had been planted on the acquiarium in Kholodnytsky’s office and reminded of rumors regarding the possible voluntary resignation “due to health reasons”.

Ukrainski Novyny, citing sources in the Prosecutor General’s Office, said that Kholodnytsky may be detained and arrested as the result of “the wiretapping case”.

Reacting to the resignation rumors, the SAPO head encouraged “not to count on it”, adding:

“There was a very quality “balanced” media attack. I was watching all these events, reading the news. First they said I would resign, then they said I would take a vacation... I wasn’t even asked about it”.

Now let’s figure out why he wasn’t asked about it.

Related: Kholodnytsky says SAP will return unused $1.6 million to state budget

Question 1

What do we know about the tapping itself?

- From the Ukrainska Pravda article:

"Hidden wiretapping equipment has been working in his (Nazar Kholodnytsky’s - прим. ред) office for several weeks. It was attached to a large acquirium near Kholodnytsky’s desk either by a disguised agent or a recruited employee.

-The sources of "RBK-Ukraine" claim that Kholodnytsky’s office was tapped by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Ukrainska Pravda argues the same. The Bureau Director Artem Sytnyk has denied that, saying that “sometimes journalists write something you won’t even read in a sci-fi novel”.

- The main version according to the media: A continuation of a closed-door-deal between the anti-corruption agencies. At the same time, Ukrainska Pravda, citing several members of parliament wrote that this could be the reason why the Prosecutor General’s Office supported the National Anti-corruption Bureau in this case:

"For a few months, Kholodnytsky has been promoting himself to the Americans for the Prosecutor General’s seat. And he paid the price for it”. However, the same article contains words of denial from the inner circle of the Head of the SAPO: “He wouldn’t say anything like that even if he was drunk”.

 

Related: Kholodnytsky asks Prosecutor General to prosecute MP Dzenzerskyi
 

Question 2

How likely is Kholodnytsky to resign or get arrested?

Media sources say it is rather likely. Precisely because of what was recorded by the wiretapping device planted in Kholodnytsky’s office.

The timeframe varies: from late March to the post-Easter period.

“The recordings are fun. The Americans have already heard them and insist on Kholodnytsky’s quiet resignation. The demand that the recording does not get anywhere past them.

The Head of the SAPO denies his resignation:

 “If somebody wants to force me to act in a certain way, to resign or anything else – you shouldn’t count in it. We didn’t come here just to leave as soon as someone wants us gone”.

Larysa Sargan, the press secretary of the Prosecutor General, also denies the possibility of Kholodnytsky getting arrested. Talking to LB.ua she claimed that “those are rumors, there is no reason to comment on it”.

Interesting detail

It is not yet clear who is going to be in charge of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in case Kholodnytsky actually does resign after all. This means that if he resigns, a new contest for the position will be held. However, until the contest is over, there needs to be someone in charge of the institution.

The media suggests two probable candidates for the position.

  • The seat may be filled by Kholodnytsky’s first deputy Maksym Hryshuk.
  • Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko may become the acting head of the office, arguing that “Kholodnytsky is the Deputy Prosecutor General, and his deputy perform the duties of the Deputy Prosecutor General.”
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