The head of the Supreme Court of Ukraine has been detained by Ukrainian prosecutors for alleged involvement in a bribery scheme, according to the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO).
The prosecutor did not reveal the name of the detained official during the briefing, mentioning that the head of the Supreme Court had not yet received a “formal notification of suspicion”.
Following recent revelations of massive corruption in the Supreme Court, Ukrainian prosecutors have arrested the head of the country’s highest judicial body. While the official’s identity was not released, local media reports indicated that Chief Justice Vsevolod Kniaziev had been arrested in connection with a $3 million bribe. Reuters was unable to reach Mr. Kniaziev for comments.
This arrest follows the Anticorruption Office’s announcement, made through its Telegram and Facebook channels, that it had collaborated with the Specialized Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office to uncover major corruption in the Supreme Court. The investigation exposed a bribery scheme involving the court’s management and judges. A photograph was shared alongside the office’s statement, showing stacks of dollars arranged neatly on a couch. Reuters noted that the photo’s authenticity could not be independently verified.
Local media have reported that the arrest of Mr. Kniaziev was produced and is expected to receive an “official notice of suspicion” within 24 hours of his arrest. Ukrainian politician Oleksiy Goncharenko noted that this arrest represents the highest-ranking official in the country’s history to be arrested for bribery.
Ukraine’s fight against corruption has been a prerequisite for the country’s possible membership in the 27-member European Union. Despite progress in the fight against corruption in recent years, Ukraine currently ranks 116th out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.
During Tuesday’s briefing, NABU Director Semen Kryvonos emphasized the office’s commitment to tackling high-level corruption, stating: “Through tangible cases and concrete actions, we are demonstrating our priorities : tackling high-level corruption and criminal organizations within the highest levels of power.”
The US Department of Defense (DoD) last week unveiled a new $1.2 billion aid package for Ukraine to improve its air defense capabilities and meet its artillery ammunition requirements. US assistance is part of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI).
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