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SBU detains local official in Odesa over alleged corruption
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reported on Feb. 2 its employees had detained the deputy head of one of the Odesa Oblast Military Administration's departments. The official allegedly offered local businessmen his assistance in the "unobstructed" allocation of land plots in the southern region.
SBU said it had documented the official demanding $60,000 from a local businessman for a "guaranteed" allocation of two land plots for rent on the Danube coast in Odesa Oblast.
Law enforcement officers reportedly detained the official near the building of the regional military administration while he was receiving the first part of the bribe of $40,000.
The detained official faces up to 12 years in prison with confiscation of property, the SBU wrote. The investigation of the alleged crimes is ongoing.
On Feb. 1, in the largest anti-corruption raid since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion, law enforcers raided powerful oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, scandal-hit former Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, and top tax and customs officials.
The large-scale operation comes as the Ukrainian government strives to show its allies that it is tackling corruption as the West provides unprecedented amounts of aid to Kyiv.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said during his evening address on Feb. 1 that the government wouldn't "allow anyone to weaken" the state, thanking "all law enforcement officers who demonstrated the power of the law and the state today."