Oleksandr Avakov, the son of Ukraine’s Interior Minister, has been released on a sponsor's word without bail payment after a hearing at Kyiv’s Solomyansky Court on November 1. He still stands accused of embezzling 14 million hryvnias ($520,640) of state funds and awaits trial.
Avakov will have to hand in his passports and any other documents allowing him to travel outside his hometown, the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and regularly check in with law enforcement during the next two months.
The two other suspects in this case, former Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Serhiy Chebotar and the CEO of the IT firm Turboseo, Volodymyr Lytvyn, are facing the same measures.
On October 31, Avakov was detained by Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) on charges of misappropriating the state funds intended to buy backpacks for the Ukrainian army in late 2014 or early 2015.
Chebotar — who was responsible for government procurement during the period in question — and Lytvyn were also detained. They were held at the NABU detention center until the November 1 hearing.
Earlier on October 31, NABU announced on Facebook that it had searched Oleksandr Avakov’s apartment in the city of Kharkiv in connection with “potential public funds misappropriation during backpack purchases by the Interior Ministry.” Arsen Avakov subsequently confirmed to Ukraine’s 112 television channel that the searches had taken place.
A video from what appears to be CCTV footage of a dialogue between Oleksandr Avakov and Serhiy Chebotar has also been circulating online since January 2016. It seems to show the two discussing how state funds can be transferred to Avakov bypassing legal tender procedures.
Arsen Avakov has reacted to the incident, saying that his son is innocent and will be able to prove that.
“Neither my son nor the companies founded by him have ever possessed a kopeck from Ukraine’s state budget,” the Interior Minister wrote on Facebook.
/By Maria Romanenko