Ukrainian law enforcement agents detained 23 former high-ranking tax-administration official suspected of helping the government of ex-President Viktor Yanukovich to defraud 96 billion Hryvnas (approximately 4 billion dollars) in what authorities call the largest operation of its kind in the history of Ukraine.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoliy Matios spoke to reporters regarding the arrest of the former officials. According to them, former officials were imprisoned after 454 raids in 15 regions across Ukraine on May 24. They also reported that operations involved 1,700 National Police officers and nearly 500 military prosecutors.
Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoliy Matios said Ukraine’s economy had “suffered” from the activities of the officials and warned others that this was only the “first wave” of arrests.
“During the course of the criminal investigation we foresee detaining and charging employees of the Prosecutor-General’s Office, Ukraine’s SBU Security Service, and employees of the state tax administration,” Interfax-Ukraine rephrased Matios’s claim.
Matios said the raids and arrests were part of big investigations into the operations of Ukraine’s Income and Tax Ministry during the “reign” of its former minister, Oleksandr Klymenko. Klymenko, as his fellow Yanukovych, ran to Russia during the protests in 2014. The rumours are that he still resides there.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov who called these raids one of the biggest anticorruption operation in the Ukrainian history, noted that some suspects tried to avoid arrest, including one official nabbed at the airport.
“The courts now will become the battleground,” says Avakov.