August 14, Detectives of National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), together with representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office (GPU) and the Security Service (SBU) representatives, detained Deputy Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories Yuriy Grymchak and his assistant.
Who is Yuriy Grymchak?
- Born on October 30, 1965, in Donetsk.
- Appointed deputy minister for temporarily occupied territories in March 2017.
- MP of the sixth convocation (2007-2012) from the "Our Ukraine - People’s Self-Defense" block.
The NABU clarified that the detainees are suspected of committing a crime under Part 4 of Art. 190 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Fraud committed on an especially large scale or by an organized group).
"The persons allegedly demanded from the representative of the legal entity to pay them undue profit in the total amount of $ 1.1 million for making an influence on decision-making by persons authorized to fulfill the functions of the state," the bureau said.
Grymchak and his assistant were honey-trapped while receiving part of the amount of $ 480,000.
On the eve of his arrest, Grymchak apartment was searched, as his wife reported.
She also specified that the second detainee by law enforcement officers is her brother.
Development of events
The detention of Grymchak was soon confirmed by Attorney General Yuriy Lutsenko.
"Yes, this is true. The GPU and SBU and NABU investigators detained my former assistant and MP Yuriy Grymchak for fraudulent possession of more than 1,1 dollars. It is a shame for him," he wrote on Facebook.
Lutsenko also spoke about the reason for the detention. According to him, Grymchak and his assistants demanded money for influencing the decisions of the courts and officials of the Ministry of Culture for making custom-made decisions.
Grymchak is officially charged with getting a hand on someone else's large sum of money. He is now a suspect in the respective case, opened under the respective article of Ukraine's Criminal Code. The crime that Grymchak is charged with is considered an extra tough crime. The deputy minister faces a prison term from five to twelve years with confiscation of property. Grymchak's lawyer Dmytro Melnyk said he did not know where the court session would take place on Friday morning; it could be Pechersk court or Chernihivsky court. The appeal to choose the pre-trial restriction measure will be filed during that session.
Comment from the Ministry of Internal Affairs
Deputy Minister for Occupied Territories Georgiy Tuka clarified several points on his Facebook page:
A person detained with Grymchak is not an employee of the ministry.
The actions that Grymchak is suspected of are not related to his activities in the ministry.
What was he detained for?
Grymchak and his assistant were detained on a bribe of 480 thousand dollars. According to Censor.net source, Grymchak used his contacts with the leadership of another ministry - the Office for the Protection of Cultural Heritage and Nature Reserves of the Ministry of Culture.
"This department, headed by Oleksandr Epifanov, has long been known for trading permits for building in historically valuable places, primarily in Kyiv. If there is no such permission, the construction is illegal. Just one signature – but how expensive it is. Grymchak acted as an intermediary in resolving corruption question," said Censor chief editor Yuriy Butusov.
The GPU specified that Grymchak extorted a bribe for influencing officials of the Ministry of Culture and the Kyiv City State Administration. More specifically, "for the promise to ensure influence on the judges of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on making a decision in favor of the person concerned, and also for exercising influence on the relevant officials of the Ministry of Culture and the Kyiv City State Administration by using their official powers."
Comment from the Ministry of Culture
The Ministry of Culture said they did not coordinate projects for the construction or reconstruction of buildings in historically populated areas: "From January 1, 2019, with the entry into force of amendments to existing legislation, until the approval of the historical and architectural support plan of the Ministry of Culture in the established manner, there are no legal grounds for approving any new construction on the territory of historically populated places, including Kyiv."
The SBU published a video, specifying that the investigative actions took place without violation of the procedural guidance.
What is known about the second detainee?
According to 24 Channel, the second detainee’s name is Igor Ovdienko. It is specified that Ovdienko became ill during the detention.
What do Grimchak's lawyers say?
Lawyer Tetyana Matyash said that the fact of the transfer of funds to Yuriy Grymchak was not recorded, and this wasn’t a million dollars, these were just little calendars.
Also, according to the lawyer, the investigation did not explain why suspect Yuriy Grymchak was specifically detained.