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Ex-Supreme Court chief suspended from administering justice until verdict or case closure

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 4, 2024 12:05 PM 2 min read
Vsevolod Kniaziev (L), dismissed from the position of the head of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, in the courtroom of the High Anti-Corruption Court on May 18, 2023 in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Yan Dobronosov/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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The High Council of Justice suspended on April 4 Vsevolod Kniaziev, the former chair of the Supreme Court and a suspect in a bribery case, from administering justice until the court verdict comes into force or the criminal proceedings are closed.

Kniaziev was detained and dismissed from his position in May 2023 after he was charged with accepting a $2.7 million bribe to rule in favor of Ukrainian billionaire Kostyantyn Zhevago. He was released from detention after paying Hr 18 million bail ($450,000) on Jan. 31.

Kniazev was already formally suspended from working at the court in February until at least April 6. Until Feb. 6, he could technically return to work as an ordinary judge at the Supreme Court because he had not been formally suspended.

Oleksandr Klymenko, the chief of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO), later filed a petition saying that if Kniaziev continues to administer justice, there are risks that "he could personally or indirectly influence witnesses or other participants in the criminal proceedings," according to the High Council of Justice.

The sum of Kniaziev's bail was reduced several times since his arrest, originally being set at Hr 107.3 million ($2.8 million). The court attributed the decisions to the ex-Supreme Court chief's allegedly poor health and his inability to pay specific amounts.

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