Kyiv Post on March 22, 2014, published an Interfax-Ukraine report that the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office has conducted 32 searches at the firms connected with ex-energy and coal industry minister Eduard Stavytsky and ex-agrarian policy and food minister Mykola Prysiazhniuk. Jewelry and millions of dollars in cash were seized. The chief accountant of the firms controlled by Stavytsky was detained. Excerpts below:

“When a search was being conducted in an apartment formerly owned by Stavytsky and, from March 15, by a legal entity, two safes and files of documents were discovered. A woman was caught in the act of destroying documents. Police had to use force after the woman offered resistance,” acting prosecutor general Oleh Makhnitsky said at a press briefing in Kyiv.

“Two safes and files of documents were seized. One of the safes was virtually stuffed with cash worth about $5 million. The other safe was filled with 50 kilograms of gold in bars, and with gold, platinum and diamond jewelry pieces,” he said.

“The worth of the finding is being determined, but it is tentatively estimated at several million dollars,” the acting prosecutor general said.

The searches were conducted in cooperation with the police and the national security service, he said. “This cooperation is yielding results,” Makhnitsky said.

Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Bahanets spoke about the searches, conducted in Prysiazhniuk’s apartment.

“About $300 and around 800,000 hryvni, plus several thousands euros in cash were confiscated,” he said.

Another search, conducted in the apartment of a former high-raking Agrarian Policy Ministry official close to Stavytsky, produced $1.7 million, 1.4 million hryvni and several thousand euros in cash, he said.

“The former civil servants managed to transfer a larger share of their assets to foreign bank accounts. What was found in the searches was cashed-in assets. We think the cash had been taken out of the country in bags in several flights,” the deputy prosecutor general said.

Interim interior minister Arsen Avakov added that searches at Naftogaz Ukrainy CEO Yevhen Bakulin’s offices and apartments “lasted all night long.” “Interesting things were discovered. We will announce the results of the searches when the Prosecutor General’s Office allows,” he said.

“Those were the first steps on the difficult path of cutting the corruption chain. We hope to work together publicly, to put an end to corruption and to teach a good lesson to all,” he said.

After the press briefing the speakers demonstrated seized bundles of cash, gold bars, jewelry and a large number of wrist watches.


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