25 top tax officials from the time of Yanukovych arrested during special operation in Ukraine

On May 24, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine (GPU) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) carried out a massive anti-corruption operation. After searches, 25 former high ranking regional officials of the Ministry of Revenues and Duties from 15 eastern and southern regions, as well as from Kyiv, were arrested. The former officials are suspected of involvement in organizing so-called tax platforms.

 Arsen Avakov, head of the Ukrainian MIA, explained what “tax platforms” are.

“Essentially, this was a scheme to control all the conversion centers in the country, which enabled companies to evade paying taxes amounting to billions. Of course, these taxes were still paid, but not into the state budget, but into the budgets of the state officials – the highest-ranking, the minister and his patrons. However even at the sites, based on the searches, some things turned up. As of today, the established damage from the operation of the “platforms” amounts to 96 billion hryvnia ($3.65 billion USD),” he said.

The news outlet Censor.net.ua published the names and positions of those arrested, citing its own sources.

1700 police officers and about five hundred staff from the GPU worked together on the special operation. Those arrested were taken to Kyiv by helicopter to determine pre-trial restrictions.

The operation started at six in the morning. Those arrested were taken to the GPU, where charges were made against them and from there to the Pechersky Regional Court to determine the pre-trial restrictions. Investigators requested arrests for all of them.

Head Military Prosecutor Anatolii Matios announced that this is not the end, but only the first wave of prominent arrests. He also recounted that the “kings and gods of the Yanukovych regime” were arrested thanks to the efforts of Roman Nasirov, suspended head of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine (SFS).

“We intend to bring to accountability the employees of the prosecution authorities, the employees of the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) and the employees of the state tax administration. Without this three-way spurt, war would not have begun in the country, because the plundering of the state for billions of hryvnia is the consequence of the total enrichment of the people who have been in the country so far,” Matios pointed out.

The most prominent of all the arrests was that of former chairperson of the Luhansk regional state administration Oleksandr Antipov. At the time of arrest, Antipov had $3.8 million in cash. Arsen Avakov, head of the MIA, put a photo of this on his Facebook page.

“This is what $3.8 million in cash looks like. This is only what Mr Antipov, arrested today during the largest joint operation of the national police and the military prosecutor general’s office, had in his possession, for so called ‘out-of-pocket expenses’,” - he observed.

Avakov explained who Oleksandr Antipov is and why he was arrested.

“Who is Antipov Oleksandr Nikolaevich? Today, a citizen of Ukraine arrested under article 208 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, and awaiting a court ruling regarding pre-trial restrictions. In the court proceedings material he is listed as the former governor of the Luhansk region, and later the head of the regional office of the Tax Administration and the chief of the head office of the Ministry of Revenues and Duties,” he noted.

  Ukraine, corruption