Former Ukrainian minister accused of embezzling $12 billion

Deputy Prosecutor-General Antatolii Matios has said that the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine (GPO) has evidence that the Former Minister of Revenues and Duties, Oleksandr Klymenko, is guilty of illegally withdrawing to offshore accounts and laundering $12 billion, reports UNN.

"96 billion UAH was laundered; this is established by the evidence. The amount is large, but we are still working; 96 billion UAH is $12 billion," he said.

This money was actually withdrawn from the state budget in the form of taxes not received by the treasury and stolen through eight main tax sites, the GPO head explained. Then, he said, it was withdrawn to offshore jurisdictions and laundered "by buying real estate, offices, land and operating businesses in Ukraine."

 According to Matios, law-enforcement 'closed' the business that was bought with the stolen funds.

"Having stolen $12 billion from the budget of Ukraine, Klymenko, thus, stole from every Ukrainian," added the military prosecutor. According to him, on average, Klymenko stole $300 from every Ukrainian.

Earlier, Matios had said that searches of the editorial board of media holding Vesti in Kyiv were related to the case of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Oleksandr Klymenko.

According to Matios, in just one day searches related to the case were conducted at 183 premises owned by Klymenko, among them the Gulliver office building, where the editorial office of Vesti is located.

After the change of power in Ukraine in 2014 and the removal of Yanukovych from the country's administration, a criminal case against Klymenko was filed under art. 364 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (abuse of power or official position). In addition to laundering illegally withdrawn funds, law enforcement officers accused Klymenko of involvement in an organized crime group that committed crimes against state property.