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Agriculture Minister Solskyi accused of illegally appropriating more than $7 million in state-owned land

by Nate Ostiller April 23, 2024 10:42 AM 2 min read
An aerial view of fields near Lake Zhuravlyne on October 13, 2022 in Hlybne, Sumy Oblast, Ukraine. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Andriy Kramchenkov/Suspilne Ukraine/JSC "UA:PBC"/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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Ukraine's Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi has been accused of illegally appropriating Ukrainian state-owned land worth Hr 291 million ($7.3 million) and attempting to seize another plot worth an additional Hr 190 million ($4.8 million), Ukraine's National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) announced on April 23.

While NABU only described the suspect as the "former chairman of the agriculture committee" of Ukraine's parliament and a current minister, Suspilne reported, citing sources in law enforcement, that it is Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi.

Solskyi then confirmed that he was the suspect in question in a post on Telegram later in the day.

"I guarantee maximum openness to establish the truth, but there is no need for this - all the data is open to law enforcement, and the evidence and arguments of the parties are being considered by the courts," he wrote.

Solskyi also said to reporters, "I do not agree with the allegations," and added that he was not planning on resigning.

NABU said that the scheme involved the destruction of documents that showed the Ukrainian state had permanent ownership of two plots of land in Sumy Oblast.

Following this, the conspirators, allegedly including Solskyi, worked from 2017-2021 to create new fictitious land ownership documents.

The documents were then reportedly distributed amongst the members of the scheme, resulting in the seizure of the first plot, worth Hr 291 million ($7.3 million).

NABU said that the conspirators were prevented by law enforcement agents from appropriating the second plot.

At least four people have been accused of participating in the scheme, according to NABU.

Ex-Supreme Court chief charged with bribery released on bail, can return to work
Vsevolod Kniaziev, former chairman of the Supreme Court and a suspect in a bribery case, was released from detention after paying Hr 18 million bail ($450,000) on Jan. 31. Kniaziev has been dismissed from his position as the court’s chairman but can return to work as an ordinary judge
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