Ukraine's Deputy Minister for Occupied Territories Detained Over Bribe Demand
15 August, 2019
Yuriy Hrymchak at a session of the Ukrainian parliament on April 11, 2017 Oleksandr Kosariev / UNIAN

Ukraine's Deputy Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons Yuriy Hrymchak, along with his assistant Ihor Ovdiienko, were detained late on August 14.

According to the prosecution, they were soliciting a bribe by promising to influence the Supreme Court judges, as well as the officials of Ukraine's Ministry of Culture and the Kyiv City State Administration for making suitable decisions. Allegedly this was done in order to approve a construction project in Kyiv.

The investigation regarding this case is being conducted by the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office, investigators of the Security Service of Ukraine and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.

The bribe was supposed to be $1.1 million. Hrymchak and Ovdiienko were caught when they were receiving $480,000. 

The Ministry of Culture denies any involvement of their officials in the case. They stress that the ministry does not approve projects for the construction or reconstruction of buildings in historically populated areas, in particular in Kyiv. 

Ministry for Temporarily Occupied Territories stated that Hrymchak's detention did not relate to the activities of the ministry and his official duties as a deputy minister. The ministry also added that the Ovdiienko is not its employee.

Hrymchak's wife, Yuliia, said that the second man detained is her brother. She argues the criminal proceedings against her husband and brother are politically motivated.

Hrymchak has been the Deputy Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories since March 2017.