13:34 01.11.2017

Interior minister not involved in 'backpack case'

Interior minister not involved in 'backpack case'

Head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) Nazar Kholodnytsky has said that Interior Minister Arsen Avakov is not involved in any status in the case on backpack purchases by the Interior Ministry in late 2014 and early 2015.

"He is not involved," he said at a briefing in Kyiv on Wednesday, when asked whether Arsen Avakov appears in the case and in what status.

At the same time, Kholodnytsky said that in general, detectives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) planned to complete this case within two months.

"Detectives promised at the last meeting that the investigation would be completed within two months and that its extension to three months would not be required. I would really like to see that," Kholodnytsky said.

In 2015, the Prosecutor General's Office opened a criminal investigation into possible abuse during the purchase of backpacks for the Interior Ministry and the National Guard.

According to media reports, in February 2015, the Interior Ministry concluded contracts with Dniprovend Ltd. for 5,000 backpacks worth UAH 14.49 million and businessman Volodymyr Plihachov for 1,000 backpacks worth UAH 2.1 million.

In June 2015, journalists conducted an investigation saying that backpacks had been purchased through enterprises controlled by Avakov's son, Oleksandr.

Two individuals detained on October 31 as part of the investigation into the so-called "backpack case" were informed on the same day of suspicion in committing a crime under Part 5, Article 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (appropriation, embezzlement or taking possession of property through abuse of power). The issue concerns former Deputy Interior Minister Serhiy Chebotar and Oleksandr Avakov, the son of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.

On November 1, NABU detectives notified the third detainee of suspicion in committing a crime during the purchase of backpacks for the Interior Ministry in late 2014 and early 2015.

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