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The powerful interior minister is also under a spotlight as the authorities open a probe into corruption allegations against him.29 September 2017
A court ordered the probe, acting on a complaint from the U.S. government-backed Anti-Corruption Action Center, First Deputy Prosecutor General Dmytro Storozhuk said 13 September, Interfax-Ukraine reported.
On 14 September Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said his office had opened a criminal investigation of Avakov on the basis of several complaints, including from the center, RFE/RL reported.
The center successfully pushed for mandatory asset declarations by public officials. Held up as a key plank in the battle against rampant official graft, the electronic asset disclosures began last year and, according to center founder Vitaliy Shabunin, led opponents of the initiative to unleash a campaign against him.
Meanwhile, asset declarations by retired Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) officers published by a Kyiv newspaper suggest even retired staff possess wealth far beyond what their official salaries could buy.
The affair swirling around anti-corruption activist Shabunin began when he punched a self-described journalist who had been harassing him for weeks, Bloomberg wrote earlier this month.
The journalist, Vsevolod Filimonenko, is an aide to member of parliament Serhiy Melnychuk, who lost his immunity for alleged ties to organized crime, according to Bloomberg. Before the eastern uprising began in 2014, Filimonenko lost his job with an election-monitoring group in Luhansk for soliciting a $3,000 bribe from a local official.
A lawmaker who supports Shabunin, Semen Semenchenko, claims Filimonenko and Melnychuk are allies of the top military prosecutor, Anatoliy Matios, whose attempt to draft Shabunin into the army earned him a reprimand.
Matios also clashed with the Anti-Corruption Action Center over his decision to restrict access to his and his staff’s asset declarations. His 2016 filed listed multiple homes and $600,000 in cash, Bloomberg says.
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