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Deputy head of Ukraine's Federation of Trade Unions suspected of bribe attempt

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 5, 2024 9:07 PM 2 min read
The bribe of $150,000 that a deputy head of Ukraine's Federation of Trade Unions allegedly attempted to give the judges of the Kyiv Court of Appeal in exchange for a decision in his favor. (Prosecutor General's Office/Telegram)
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A deputy head of Ukraine's Federation of Trade Unions, who is currently detained waiting for a court ruling over other charges, allegedly attempted to bribe judges in exchange for a decision in his favor, the State Bureau of Investigation reported on Jan. 5.

Ukraine has struggled to implement the long-awaited judicial reform as few corrupt judges have been fired, and even fewer have been jailed.

In one of the most high-profile recent cases of bribery in the Ukrainian justice system, Vsevolod Kniaziev, the former head of Ukraine's Supreme Court, was charged with accepting a $1.8 million bribe in exchange for the court's decision favoring Ukrainian oligarch Kostiantyn Zhivago.

The Federation of Trade Unions official was previously accused of illegally seizing state property worth over Hr 138 million ($3.6 million) and put in a pre-trial detention center.

While in custody, he purportedly tried to transfer $150,000 to the Kyiv Court of Appeal judges through an accomplice in exchange for canceling the decision of another Kyiv court to extend his detention. He also wanted the judges to change his detention measure to house arrest, the bureau wrote.

The bureau's employees reportedly stopped the accomplice's car, where the funds were being transported, and seized the entire bribe.

The law enforcement officers also found a mobile phone, which contained correspondence regarding the details of the money transfer, the bureau added.

The bureau did not name the suspect, but Ukrainska Pravda's sources in law enforcement said it was Volodymyr Saienko.

He and his accomplice were charged with "preparing to provide an illegal benefit to an official in a responsible position."

Ukraine's Federation of Trade Unions is the country's largest trade union association, which includes more than 85% of Ukraine's trade union members.

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