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Former head of state tax service accused of taking bribes released on $1.4 million bail

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 24, 2024 10:28 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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Roman Nasirov, the former head of Ukraine's tax service who is accused of taking hefty bribes, was released from custody on bail worth Hr 55 million (around $1.4 million), the High Anti-Corruption Court reported on May 24.

Nasirov had been in detention since October 2022, with an initial bail set at Hr 532 million (around $13.2 million).

Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau in 2023 concluded that Nasirov, during his tenure as the head of the service from 2015-2016, had received $5.5 million for granting Hr 540 million in fraudulent value-added tax (VAT) refunds to an agricultural holding company in 2015.

Later in 2016, he allegedly received another 21 million euros for granting Hr 2.7 billion in illegal VAT refunds.

Ukrainian businessman Oleh Bakhmatyuk, owner of the agricultural holding Ukrlandfarming, was arrested in absentia on March 7, 2023, on charges of allegedly giving bribes to Nasirov and his adviser.

The bribe is said to have been worth around Hr 722 million ($19.3 million) and was intended to secure VAT reimbursement for entities under Bakhmatyuk's control, according to Ukraine’s Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO).

Nasirov was first arrested in March 2017, when he was still in office at the Tax Service. He was then suspected of embezzling Hr 2 billion ($49.8 million) with the controversial businessman and lawmaker Oleksandr Onyshchenko.

Nasirov has denied all wrongdoing.

Ex-deputy head of Presidential Office Smirnov charged with illicit enrichment
While Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) did not say the name of the suspect, Ukrainska Pravda reported earlier in the day, citing undisclosed law enforcement sources, that it was Andrii Smirnov.

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