Bribe of $6 mln offered for closing criminal case involving ex-minister Zlochevsky – NABU director
A bribe to the top officials of anti-corruption bodies was offered for the closure of a criminal proceeding where former ecology minister Mykola Zlochevsky was suspected of embezzlement, which would have allowed him to return to Ukraine, Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) Artem Sytnyk has said.
"A bribe of $6 million was intended to close the episode when the ex-minister of ecology assisted in embezzling the stabilization loan from the National Bank issued to Real Bank," Sytnyk said at a briefing in Kyiv on Saturday morning.
He said that a number of persons were suspected in this episode, including Zlochevsky.
"Why people who offered illegal benefit were in a rush? Because tomorrow Mr. Zlochevsky had a birthday and had a plan to achieve the maximum result, namely to close the criminal proceedings and ensure the return of Mr. Zlochevsky to Ukraine," the director of NABU said.
Sytnyk also said that three people have been detained to date: the first deputy head of the main department of the State Fiscal Service in Kyiv, the second person is related to Burisma, he is an authorized representative of Zlochevsky and the third person is a former employee of the State Fiscal Service, who is also an authorized representative of Zlochevsky.
"At first, during the conversation, there was a proposal of $1 million for simply transferring the case to other investigating authorities... After refusing to receive these funds and continuing negotiations, they offered $5 million to close the criminal proceeding and it was important to do this before June 14, 2020," Sytnyk said.
According to him, the funds were seized, and the amount of $1 million, which was in the car of the first deputy chief of the State Fiscal Service of Kyiv, was also seized.
"At present, the first deputy head of the State Fiscal Service's department has been declared suspected of committing a crime... for offering a bribe. As for the other two detainees, as the director of NABU said, draft notices of suspicion have already been prepared for them.
Head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) Nazar Kholodnytsky recalled that the criminal proceedings in which Zlochevsky appears were suspended.
"The sum (of the proposed bribe) amounted to $6 million, of which $5 million were intended for a person who should have made the procedural decision to close the case, and $1 million was supposed for consulting services of an intermediary," the head of the SAPO said.
On June 12, a former official, with the assistance of an official of the State Fiscal Service in Kyiv and others, tried to transfer $6 million of illegal benefit to Kholodnytsky and NABU top officials.