Former Ukrainian Security Official Declared Wanted in Corruption Case

Former Ukrainian security official Oleh Hladkovsky, accused of corruption, has been declared wanted, while a top border guard was acquitted, highlighting Ukraine's ongoing anti-corruption challenges amid the Russian invasion.

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Former Ukrainian Security Official Declared Wanted in Corruption Case

Former Ukrainian Security Official Declared Wanted in Corruption Case

Oleh Hladkovsky, a former first deputy secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, has been declared wanted by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) in a corruption case. Hladkovsky was dismissed and charged in 2019 over the purchase of vehicles for the military at artificially inflated prices, allegedly costing the state more than Hr 17 million (now $430,000).

The investigation found that Hladkovsky, along with an ex-deputy defense minister and a director of the ministry's military-technical policy department, purchased MAZ 6317 trucks at inflated prices in 2017, with the car manufacturer being a subsidiary of Hladkovsky's Bohdan Corporation. He was detained in October 2019 but released in March 2022 while the investigation was still ongoing.

After his release, Hladkovsky stopped appearing in court and went abroad, despite a ban on men aged 18-60 leaving the country under martial law. In 2022, pictures of Hladkovsky in Warsaw surfaced, with Ukraine's Border Guard saying he left abroad for humanitarian work.

In a separate case, the High Anti-Corruption Court in Ukraine acquitted Serhiy Mul, a top official of the State Border Guard Service, who was accused of failing to declare a land plot and a house worth Hr 1.5 million ($38,000) in his asset declaration in 2021. The court found no crime in Mul's actions, and the verdict can be appealed within 30 days.

The hearing on Mul's case was conducted behind closed doors, despite prosecutors' request to consider it publicly, as the defense insisted on a closed hearing due to Mul's status as a serviceman and concerns for his safety. Ukraine's system of compulsory asset declarations was originally instituted as part of the country's fight against corruption following the 2013-2014 EuroMaidan Revolution, but the requirement was suspended at the start of the full-scale Russian invasion.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a law in October 2023 to resume asset declarations for officials and make them publicly accessible, and the National Agency on Corruption Prevention re-opened access to the asset declaration system in December 2023.

Why this matters:The corruption case involving Oleh Hladkovsky and the acquittal of Serhiy Mul highlight the ongoing challenges Ukraine faces in combating corruption, even as the country contends with the Russian invasion. The resumption of asset declarations for officials and efforts to hold them accountable demonstrate Ukraine's commitment to transparency and the rule of law.

The corruption case against Oleh Hladkovsky, a former high-ranking security official, highlights the need for continued anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine. As the country seeks to strengthen its institutions and maintain international support, addressing corruption remains a critical priority. The acquittal of Serhiy Mul in a separate case also raises questions about the effectiveness of the asset declaration system and the challenges in prosecuting corruption cases. As Ukraine continues to navigate the complex landscape of corruption and the ongoing war, the government's ability to ensure accountability and maintain public trust will be crucial in shaping the country's future.

Key Takeaways

  • Oleh Hladkovsky, ex-security official, wanted for $430K military vehicle corruption
  • Serhiy Mul, border guard, acquitted of $38K asset declaration failure
  • Ukraine resumes mandatory asset declarations for officials after suspension
  • Corruption cases highlight Ukraine's ongoing challenges in fighting graft
  • Accountability and public trust crucial as Ukraine navigates war and reforms