Anticorruption agency studying files allegedly containing evidence against Avakov, no criminal case opened yet
The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) received some files supporting a request to investigate a criminal offence allegedly committed by Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, in compliance with investigative jurisdiction rules and its employees are scrutinizing them now, First Deputy Prosecutor General Dmytro Storozhuk said.
"There is no criminal case against Arsen Avakov. What we have got here is a court ruling following the motion filed by the Anti-Corruption Action Center. The court ordered the Prosecutor General's Office to launch criminal proceedings [...] under the Criminal Procedure Code. In accordance with investigative jurisdiction, this case was sent to the NABU where the check is underway now and these proceedings will be terminated if there are no elements of a crime," Storozhuk told reporters in Kyiv on Wednesday.
He went on to explain that the files in question are not relating to a specific individual, but "to the fact of a land parcel's allocation 15 years ago".
Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko told Channel 24 in an interview that a criminal case had been opened against Avakov. "I daily receive [letters] from several dozen persons, including [Anti-Corruption Action Center head Vitaliy] Shabunin, and on the basis of his letter I have opened a criminal case against you would not believe who, Interior Minister Avakov, because everyone is equal. All appeals lodged with the Prosecutor General's office have equal procedural status," Lutsenko said.
Shabunin denied sending any letters about Avakov to the Prosecutor General's Office in his comments to the 112.Ukraine channel.
"Not about Avakov, no, our statements on a crime, a scheme that may involve Avakov, have not been filed with the Prosecutor General's Office because this is not their jurisdiction, this is the jurisdiction of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. So, the case mentioned by Yuriy Vitaliyovych [Lutsenko] is a great secret for me," Shabunin said.
In the morning of September 14, the Ukrainian interior minister's advisor Zoryan Shkiryak said the minister will continue fulfilling his duties despite the criminal proceedings against him.
Prosecutor General's Spokesperson Larysa Sargan said later in the day that the criminal proceedings launched by the Prosecutor General's Office following the report against Avakov will be closed.