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Ex-lawmaker sentenced to 15 years in jail in absentia in gas scheme corruption case

by Kateryna Denisova April 5, 2024 10:45 AM 2 min read
Former Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksandr Onyshchenko. (Oleksandr Onyshchenko/Facebook)
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The High Anti-Corruption Court sentenced in absentia former Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksandr Onyshchenko to 15 years in prison with a confiscation of property, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) said on April 5.

Onyshchenko was found guilty of organizing the so-called "gas scheme," one of the largest corruption schemes in Ukraine's history, which caused losses to the country in the total amount of about Hr 3 billion ($76.5 million).

Onyshchenko headed a criminal group that embezzled more than Hr 1.6 billion ($40.8 million) from the sale of natural gas between January 2013 and June 2016, according to the investigation.

As a result, the state-owned public joint stock company, Ukrgazvydobuvannya, suffered losses of about Hrn 740 million ($19 million), which were received by companies controlled by Onyshchenko, according to NABU.

Another defendant, Onyshchenko's financial director, Olena Pavlenko, was sentenced in absentia to 12 years in prison with a confiscation of property.

The investigation established the involvement of 29 people in the gas scheme. Eight suspects pleaded guilty and accepted plea agreements.

Onyshchenko has been hiding from justice abroad since 2016. He was detained and placed in custody in Germany in 2019. The German court refused to extradite Onyshchenko to Ukraine. He was denied political asylum and asked to leave the country.

In 2021, the ex-lawmaker said he had obtained Russian citizenship.

Bail reportedly paid for Ex-Presidential Office advisor suspected in corruption scheme
The Hr 30 million ($767,000) bail was paid for former Presidential Office advisor Artem Shylo, suspected in a corruption scheme connected to Ukrainian Railways (Ukrzaliznytsia), the Anti-Corruption Action Center reported on April 4.
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