SBU could have been involved in scheme on illegal granting of Ukrainian citizenship
Law enforcement agencies intervened in a special operation by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to detect a scheme on the illegal granting of Ukrainian citizenship to foreigners after it was determined that SBU officers could have been involved in illegal actions, Deputy Head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) Volodymyr Kryvenko has said.
"We established that SBU employees could be involved in this scheme... On this case, after we were aware of the involvement of these persons, they started developing a set of countermeasures on how to harm us and prevent us from uncovering [the entire scheme]," Kryvenko said during an expert discussion in Kyiv on Thursday, January 11.
In this regard, he stressed the importance of granting the powers of autonomous wiretapping to the anti-corruption authorities.
He said that during the investigation of the criminal proceeding on the illegal provision of documents permitting residence in Ukraine to foreigners, Ukrainian passports, there could have been a leak of information during operative and search activities and wiretapping carried out through the SBU.
According to Kryvenko, the investigation into this case continues, but it is complicated by the interference of the Prosecutor General's Office and the Security Service of Ukraine in the special operation, as a result of which "the investigation lost its operational component."
"The goal was not only to investigate the criminal activities of [First Deputy Head of the State Migration Service of Ukraine Dina] Pimakhova. Pimakhova is a person who was at the top of the pyramid," he said.
According to him, the scheme investigated by the anti-corruption bodies included 4-5 elements in state law enforcement and judicial bodies.
"Therefore, we are now setting these data through the investigation. Of course, this is much more complicated, and there's no guarantee that we will establish all these structural elements," Kryvenko said.
The State Migration Service earlier reported the arrest of a NABU agent during an attempt to give a bribe to Pimakhova.
"For several months the NABU agent… repeatedly attempted to provoke Pimakhova, offering her large sums of money in return for illegal decisions on legalizing citizens of Vietnam and Iran in Ukraine who didn't even exist," the SMS' press service said.
According to the service, Pimakhova applied to law enforcement agencies that she was provoked into getting a bribe, after which law enforcement officers carried out operational and search measures to document a criminal group.
"As a result, when an attempt was made to transfer the first part of the bribe in the amount of $15,000, the NABU agent was detained at the scene of the crime by SBU officers. The criminal actions of the NABU agent on provoking bribery of an official envisage accountability under Article 370 of the Criminal Code 'provocation of bribery,'" reads the report.
The NABU said that it never provoked any State Migration Service official into receiving a bribe and that the Prosecutor General's Office and the SBU "illegally intervened" in their special operation aimed at identifying members of an organized criminal group at the SMSU, by detaining on November 29 their detective who worked under cover. According to the NABU, in fact, there is a "planned act of sabotage" against NABU and SAPO employees, realized by the SBU and sanctioned by the prosecutor general.