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NGO: Lawmaker Odarchenko, Special Communications Service ex-head released on bail

by Martin Fornusek November 24, 2023 11:38 PM 2 min read
Lawmaker Andrii Odarchenko. (Anti-Corruption Action Center)
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Lawmaker Andrii Odarchenko, suspected of attempted bribery, and ex-head of the State Special Communications Service Yurii Shchyhol, suspected of public funds embezzlement, were released from custody on bail, the NGO Anti-Corruption Action Center reported on Nov. 24.

Odarchenko, elected for President Volodymyr Zelensky's Servant of the People party, was arrested on Nov. 22 on suspicions he attempted to bribe State Agency for Restoration and Infrastructure Development's head Mustafa Nayyem with cryptocurrency.

A former journalist and EuroMaidan activist-turned-politician, Nayyem assisted anti-corruption agencies with the investigation of Odarchenko, which led to the latter's detention.

Odarchenko admitted talking to Nayyem but denied offering him a bribe. The lawmaker said he voluntarily handed over keys to his Kyiv apartment to authorities, claiming that "nothing was found."

Another suspect reportedly released was Shchyhol, a brigadier general who used to lead the state agency responsible for cyber defense and government communications.

Shchyhol and his former subordinates are suspected of embezzling Hr 62 million ($1.7 million) in state funds allocated for the purchase of equipment and software.

A third person released on bail was developer Serhii Kopistira, who was in custody only for a single day for attempting to bribe Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov.

The court set Odarchenko's bail at Hr 15 million ($416,000), Shchyhol's at Hr 25 million ($693,000), and Kopistira's at Hr 100 million ($2.7 million).

It is unclear whether the three suspects covered the bail themselves or whether it was done by third parties, the Anti-Corruption Action Center said. The NGO drew attention to the speed with which the multi-million sums were paid.

All suspects are mandated to wear tracking bracelets and are prohibited from traveling abroad or communicating with other suspects and witnesses during the ongoing investigations.

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