UARU
Ukraine Arrests Another High-Profile Official in Anti-Corruption Purge
22 April, 2017
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Photo by Vladyslav Musienko, UNIAN

Ukrainian MP Mykola Martynenko was detained on the charge of looting more than $17 million. The suspected Martynenko was handed over to detectives from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau on April 20th 2017.
Mykola Martynenko is the closest associate to the former Ukrainian Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. The Swiss prosecutor’s office suspects him guilty of corruption dating back to 2015. Ukrainian law-enforcement are also now looking into these accusations. On April, 22nd the deputies and ministers from 'Narodnyi Front' bailed him out.

In 2005, after the victory of 'Orange Revolution, which led Viktor Yuschenko to power, Martynenko was head of the pro-presidential parliamentary faction, the ‘Our Ukraine - People’s Self-defence Bloc’. In September 2005, the then Head of the Presidential Administration, Aleksandr Zinchenko, accused Martynenko and the secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine - who, at the time was Petro Poroshenko - of corruption.

In November 2014, Martynenko became an MP for the ‘Narodnyi Front’ party, the leader of which is the former PM, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. However, in 2016 he had to give up his mandate and lost his parliamentary immunity. The former journalist and MP, Serhiy Leschenko, published documents stating that Martynenko had been charged with money laundering and receiving bribes in Switzerland.

Today, the media names Martynenko as one of the chief sponsors of the politcial party and parliamentary faction, ‘Narodniy Front'.

WHAT IS MARTYNENKO SUSPECTED OF?

The Head of the Specialised Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office, Nazar Holodnytskiy, announced on his facebook page that Martynenko was suspected of embezzling more than 17 million of budget funds.
At the beginning of the year, the state enterprise, ‘Eastern Mining-Processing Combine’ - the only one Ukrainian Uranium mining and processing enterprise - bought a large shipment of uranium reserves in Kazakhstan. The deal was carried out through the Austrian firm, 'STEUERMANN Investitions und Handelsgesellschaft mbH'.

Photo by Anastasia Syrotkina, UNIAN

The Austrian firm increased the price by 150%, and earned more than 17 million dollars from this. This is the deal that led to NABU’s investigation into Martynenko.

Martynenko’s former business partners, David Zhvania, stated that, 'STEUERMANN Investitions und Handelsgesellschaft mbH' belonged mainly to Mykola Martynenko. Detectives from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) looked into the company’s cash flow, and subsequently, Martynenko was arrested. 

Criminal cases against Martynenko have also been instigated in the Czech Republic and Switzerland. These cases relate to charges of bribery over the contracts for two nuclear power stations in Ukraine - the Rivne and Zaporizhia stations, which are supplied by the Czech company, 'Skoda'.

Money went through an account held by the 'Bredcrest' investment company in Panama. The beneficial owner of this company is Martynenko. According to Swiss law, the Ukrainian politician is now threatened with a fine of 1 million francs and 5 years in prison for money laundering.

WHAT'S NEXT?

The detained Mykola Martynenko faces up to 12 years behind bars. The head of the Specialised Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office spoke out about this.

According to him, the Prosecutor’s Office intends to ask court to apply a measure of restraint - custody for 60 days with the possibility of bailment of 300 million UAH ($11 million).

Photo by Dmytro Replianchyk, Hromadske

A petition has been passed to Martynenko’s lawyers, after that the court will impose pre-trial restraint. Andrii Perov and Roman Symkiv will represent the party of charge - they also represented the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office in the case of State Fiscal Service Chief Roman Nasirov, who was arrested over the alleged embezzlement of approximately $75 million.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

Mykola Martynenko is now the third top-ranking official in Ukraine to be arrested by the new Ukrainian anti-corruption institutions. Oleksandr Onyshchenko, the scandalous Ukrainian MP and former member of the Party of Regions, was accused of being involved in an organised crime ring which cost the government 3 million hryvnias ($111, 300).

Read and Watch More: New Arrest Exposes Ukrainian Money Laundering in Western Europe

Onyshchenko fled Ukraine and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau passed his documents to Interpol. NABU also carried out the arrest of Roman Nasirov, the State Fiscal Service Chief. 

Photo by Dmytro Replianchyk, Hromadske

15 deputies and 4 Ukrainian ministers have agreed to bail Martynenko out, as commented by journalist Kristina Berdinskikh on Twitter. Among them are the Minister of Infrastructure - Volodymyr Omelyan, Minister of Education - Liliya Grynevych, Minister of Ecology - Ostap Semerak and Minister of Youth and Sport - Ihor Zhdanov. All of them came to power as members of the ‘Narodniy Front' party, to which Martynenko belongs.

One more person has been arrested in ‘Martynenko case’ - Serhiy Pereloma, the First Deputy Chairman of the Board of ‘Naftogaz Ukraine’. The prosecution demands that he emains under arrest for two months or pays bail to the sum of 100 million UAH ($3,7 million).