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Old 31st July 2015, 18:22
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Release of ‘Diamond Prosecutor’ shows fatal flaws of law enforcement
July 31, 2015, 7:54 p.m. | Kyiv Post Oleg Sukhov

Oleksandr Korniets, who was arrested in early July in a bribery case, has gained such notoriety that he now goes by the nickname of “The Diamond Prosecutor.” He is seen by critics as the epitome of corruption.

Following his arrest in a sting operation, 104 cut diamonds were found in his house – thus the nickname. He has also managed to acquire, on his modest prosecutor’s salary, 12 hectares of land in Kyiv Oblast, and has 24 real estate deeds registered to frontmen and businesses formally owned by his sister – a list provided by Yury Butusov, chief editor of the censor.net news site.

But now Korniets has walked free.

He was released on July 30 after one of his lawyers, Lyudmila Ivanchik, paid Hr 3.2 million bail, Viktor Petrunenko, another of Korniyets’ lawyers, said on July 31.

Critics argue that the release of Korniyets, an ex-deputy head of the Kyiv Oblast prosecutor’s office, and many other suspects in corruption cases before him, demonstrates how dysfunctional and inefficient Ukraine’s law enforcement system is. They say that judges, who have changed little since ousted President Viktor Yanukovych’s era, may be the weakest link and are sabotaging any efforts to fight corruption.

Korniyets and Volodymyr Shapakin, a deputy of the Prosecutor General’s Office’s main investigative department, were arrested in a sting operation organized by Deputy Prosecutor General Davit Sakvarelidze and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on July 6. The SBU said then that “many pieces of jewelry,” 65 diamonds and an AK-47 assault rifle had been found in Korniyets’ office and house.

Lawmaker Mustafa Nayyem wrote then that some $500,000 in cash and certificates of deposit worth Hr 800,000 had been also found during the searches at the prosecutors’ offices and houses.

The arrests triggered a scandal when evidence emerged that Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin and his deputies Volodymyr Huzyr and Yury Stolyarchuk were trying to pressure Sakvarelidze’s investigators to halt the case against Korniyets and Shapakin. Though Shokin and Huzyr deny this, the latter had to resign on July 28 amid the public uproar.

According to Nayyem, Korniyets and Shapakin are protégés of Shokin and Huzyr.

Kyiv’s Pechersk Court allowed Korniets and Shapakin to be released on Hr 3.2 million bail in early July. On July 9, Shapakin paid the money and got out, while Korniets remained behind bars for some time before being freed on July 30.

On July 21, the Kyiv Court of Appeals increased the bail for Shapakin to Hr 6.4 million, and he was released again after paying the second bail.

These decisions were preceded by a long list of similar incidents when courts released officials accused of corruption and Yanukovych allies.

On July 30, the Pechersk Court allowed ex-Justice Minister Oleksandr Lavrinovich, who is accused of embezzling Hr 8.5 million, to be released on Hr 1.218 million bail.

In April Serhiy Bochkovsky, ex-chief of the State Emergency Service, and his deputy Vasyl Stoyetsky, who are accused of embezzling Hr 1.16 million, were released after paying Hr 1.2 million each.

Oleksandr Yefremov, an ex-lawmaker and Yanykovych ally, was arrested on abuse of power and document forgery charges in February and then released on Hr 3.6 million bail. In the same month, he was arrested again on charges of inciting ethnic hatred and got out of the detention facility on miniscule Hr 60,900 bail and is currently under house arrest.

Other suspects have even managed to escape justice completely. Anton Chernushenko, ex-head of the Kyiv Court of Appeals, and Verkhovna Rada member Serhiy Klyuyev, who both face corruption charges, fled Ukraine in June.

Alexei Kot, a managing partner of Ukrainian law firm Antika, told the Kyiv Post by phone that one of the problems is imperfect legislation that allows officials accused of corruption to get off easy.

The Verkhovna Rada has been considering a bill to abolish bail for corruption cases since January but no progress has yet been made on the legislation.

Another problem is the imperfect work of prosecutors. “Our prosecutors must get used to the fact that not only defense lawyers must work and prove the innocence of their client, but prosecutors must also prove by using all their tools that the size of bail must be appropriate,” Kot said.

Critics also accuse judges of making unjustified decisions due to either incompetence or corruption. Not a single judge has been fired under Ukraine’s lustration law, which envisages firing Yanukovych-era officials, and the court system remains largely unreformed.

Courts often set bail that is much less than what a suspect can afford.

Sergei Grebenyuk, a co-head of criminal law practice at Egorov, Puginski, Afansiev and Partners, told the Kyiv Post that courts must set the size of bail linked to suspects’ wealth.

“Why don’t they make such decisions?" Grebenyuk asked. “There are two reasons: either law enforcement agencies (prosecutors and the police) don’t do their work properly, or courts make incorrect decisions due to certain circumstances or some influence.”

Western practice differs from that of Ukrainian courts. In March 2014 an Austrian court released Dmytro Firtash, a Ukrainian tycoon accused of corruption, on 125 million euros bail, compared to the equivalent of 137,000 euros in the Korniyets case.

The courts’ decisions to release Korniyets and Shapakin on medium-sized bail have caused public indignation, given the immense wealth investigators found in their possession.

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that, after suspects are released, Ukrainian authorities are often unable to track them and de facto allow them to flee, Kot said.
Release of ‘Diamond Prosecutor’ shows fatal flaws of law enforcement

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  #135 (permalink)  
Old 10th February 2016, 12:40
Gotno Gizmo Gotno Gizmo is offline
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IMF warns Ukraine about corruption

IMF warns Ukraine it will halt $40bn bailout unless corruption stops:

IMF warns Ukraine it will halt $40bn bailout unless corruption stops | World news | The Guardian
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  #136 (permalink)  
Old 28th September 2016, 18:08
Szary Szary is offline
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Vitaliy Golubev for President!

Three minutes of straight talk on Shuster’s show:

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Old 15th January 2017, 14:48
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Ukraine’s Former Top Spy

Ukraine’s former top security official has gone from tracking down Russian spies to fighting what he perceives to be the country’s greatest threat—corruption.
Ukraine’s Former Top Spy Goes After a New Enemy: Corruption
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