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The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) notified seven people, including an undisclosed former deputy minister of culture, that they were suspected of a dubious asset takeover on Feb. 1.
The seven people, among whom another former ministry official, allegedly took over 14 buildings and structures on the outskirts of Kyiv worth over $1 million in total. The assets have reportedly been returned to the state.
According to the investigation, the alleged suspects developed a scheme to take over the real estate of the state-owned enterprise National Cinematheque of Ukraine under the guise of rehabilitation without paying for these assets.
The announcement follows a massive search operation on Feb. 1, in what appears to be the largest anti-corruption raid since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.
Law enforcement agencies on Feb. 1 searched the houses of several incumbent and former top officials and an oligarch.
Among others, law enforcers raided powerful oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, scandalous former Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, and top customs officials. The acting head of the State Customs Service, Viacheslav Demchenko, was fired.
The large-scale operation comes as the Ukrainian government strives to show to its allies that it is tackling corruption as the West is providing unprecedented amounts of aid to Kyiv.