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Investigators uncover alleged scheme to launder $22.5 million bribe for ex-top tax official

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk June 19, 2024 6:52 PM 2 min read
Chief of Ukraine's State fiscal service Roman Nasirov (R) is seen surrounded by his lawyers and defenders in a courtroom in November 2017. (Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) said on June 19 that it had exposed an alleged criminal scheme to launder the 21 million euros ($22.5 million) allegedly received as a bribe by Roman Nasirov, then head of the State Fiscal Service, in 2015-2016.

An associate of Nasirov and an advisor to the ex-official have been charged in the money laundering case, the NABU reported.

According to the news site Liga.net's sources, Nasirov's associate is Oleksandr Hlimbovskyi, owner of Altis, a Ukrainian construction group. His daughter, Kateryna Hlimbovska, is Roman Nasirov's wife and a member of the Kyiv City Council.

Ukrainian businessman Oleh Bakhmatyuk, the owner of the agribusiness group Ukrlandfarming, was charged in 2022 with giving the 21 million euro bribe to Nasirov in exchange for illegal value added tax refunds. The former head of the State Fiscal Service was charged with receiving the bribe.

From December 2015 to March 2016, the Nasirov associate identified by Liga.net as Hlimbovskyi helped Nasirov to transfer part of a bribe of more than 13 million euros ($14 million) to the accounts of a company in the British Virgin Islands, the NABU reported.

From May 2017 to April 2018, the associate laundered the entire amount of the bribe and spent it on purchasing a residential and office complex with a parking lot in the center of Kyiv, according to the NABU.

By the end of 2023, the NABU and the SAPO seized 81 properties and more than Hr 30 million ($740,000), which the associate allegedly acquired with laundered funds.

The other part of the bribe, 7.9 million euros ($8.5 million), which was transferred to the accounts of another company in the British Virgin Islands, was laundered by the top official's adviser, the NABU reported.

Nasirov is also on trial in a separate abuse of power case. In 2017, he was charged with illegally allowing participants of an alleged corrupt scheme at gas producer Ukrgazvydobuvannya to delay tax payments, causing losses to the state of Hr 2 billion ($74 million.)

Nasirov denies all accusations of wrongdoing.

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