Investigating sexual violence as war crimes — "He Came Back"
Our War Crimes Investigations Unit released its new documentary, “He Came Back”. The film is about two cases of sexual violence committed by Russian soldiers during the occupation of Kherson and Kyiv oblasts in 2022 — and the process of identifying the offenders. Watch it on our YouTube channel.
Skip to content
Edit post

Ukrainian prosecutors search detective's house over alleged leak in top corruption case

by Oleg Sukhov May 24, 2024 1:23 AM 4 min read
The employees of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) are seen during work in an undated photograph. The protective vests they wear display the Ukrainian acronym "NABU." (
This audio is created with AI assistance

Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.

Become a member Support us just once

The Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) said on May 22 that it had searched the house of a detective of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU).

The case involves alleged corruption at the President's Office, law enforcement sources told the Kyiv Independent. The President's Office and the NABU did not respond to requests for comment.

The investigation into the alleged leak led to anti-corruption activists questioning the NABU's ability to investigate top-level graft. The case also highlights an alleged conflict between the NABU and SAPO, which may thwart corruption investigations.

The prosecutors said they had opened a case into abuse of power and an alleged leak of investigative information by a NABU detective. The SAPO added that police officers had taken part in the searches.

The prosecutors also said they had not conducted any searches at the NABU premises.

The NABU said on May 23 that its internal audit unit had started a probe into the alleged leak.

"We are informing our SAPO colleagues that the NABU has enough resources for carrying out the investigation," the bureau said. "The NABU always guarantees independent, objective and comprehensive pre-trial investigation and expects our partners to have the same approach."

Online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda reported on May 22, citing its sources, that the SAPO was searching the house of NABU detective Valery Polyuha.

The searches are linked to a leak in the case into an alleged corruption scheme as part of the government's "Big Construction" project, a law enforcement source told the Kyiv Independent. The NABU detective allegedly leaked information in the interests of an influential businessman, Yury Holyk, according to the source.

"Big Construction", which is focused on infrastructure development, has been the flagship project of President Volodymyr Zelensky's administration. It has been heavily promoted in Zelensky's public relations campaigns.

Holyk has allegedly overseen an embezzlement scheme in the government's major construction projects, and his firm has obtained huge revenue from them, according to an investigation by the investigative journalism project, published in October.

The NABU has investigated Holyk, but no charges have been brought so far. Holyk denied the accusations of wrongdoing.

Even after the investigation started, Holyk regularly visited the President's Office in August, reported.

Apart from Holyk, Zelensky's former deputy chief of staff Kyrylo Tymoshenko and ex-Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Governor Valentyn Reznichenko have also been investigated in the "Big Construction" corruption case, according to the law enforcement source.

The leak case was opened after the SAPO obtained correspondence, conducted in 2021-2023, between NABU detective Polyuha, an unidentified top NABU official, and Georgy Birkadze, an alleged intermediary and former head of the Brovary district administration, the source said.

Gizo Uglava, the NABU's first deputy chief, is also under investigation in the leak case, the law enforcement source said.

As a result of the leaks, most of the evidence in the "Big Construction" corruption case has been lost, and searches gave no results, the source said. Due to this, there is virtually no evidence against Holyk now, and there are no grounds to charge him, according to the source.

The source argued that the NABU's leadership and the bureau's internal audit unit had failed to react sufficiently to the leak and had done virtually nothing to investigate it. No one has been suspended, fired or charged over the leak, according to the source.

"The developments around NABU employees leaking information from the 'Big Construction' scheme in the interests of Holyk, a middleman who oversees the scheme for the President's Office, proves that the NABU apparently requires a deep overhaul," Vitaly Shabunin, head of the Anti-Corruption Action Center's executive board, wrote on Facebook on May 23. "The upcoming weeks will show whether the dismissal of some of the top NABU officials will be enough or the appointment of a new NABU head will be needed."

Shabunin argued that "it's impossible to investigate top-level corruption if the (NABU's) leadership leaks information to suspects."

He also wrote that NABU deputy head Uglava had been given total control over detectives and over investigative information.

This was done to make sure that Uglava is not held responsible for leaks and other violations, Shabunin claimed.

The NABU investigates top-level corruption cases, while the SAPO prosecutes them.

The two agencies are supposed to work in tandem but there have been conflicts between them in the past.

During one of these conflicts, the NABU released audio recordings implicating then Chief Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytsky in wrongdoing in 2018. In the recordings, Kholodnytsky is heard pressuring anti-corruption prosecutors and courts, urging a witness to give false testimony, and tipping off suspects that their properties were about to be searched.

He denied the accusations of wrongdoing.

Ukraine’s anti-corruption bureau makes progress yet doesn’t take on top presidential allies
As Ukraine’s civil society and the country’s Western partners call on the authorities to fight corruption amid Russia’s full-scale invasion, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) is showing mixed results. A year has passed since Semen Kryvonos became the head of the NABU in March 20…

Before you skip this banner, we want to tell you something…

The Kyiv Independent doesn’t depend on a wealthy owner or an oligarch — in 2023, 80% of our revenue was from reader contributions . It’s thanks to them that we don’t have to rely on a single owner.

Support us now and help maintain our independent model and keep our articles free for everyone. Your contributions allow us to cover journalists’ salaries, report from the front lines, and fund projects like our War Crimes Investigations Unit.

visa masterCard americanExpress

Editors' Picks

Enter your email to subscribe
Please, enter correct email address
* indicates required
* indicates required
* indicates required
* indicates required
* indicates required


* indicates required
* indicates required


* indicates required
* indicates required


* indicates required
Successfuly subscribed
Thank you for signing up for this newsletter. We’ve sent you a confirmation email.