Skip to content
Edit post

Source: Investigators preparing to charge anti-corruption activist Shabunin

by The Kyiv Independent news desk June 20, 2024 12:22 AM  (Updated: ) 3 min read
Vitaly Shabunin, head of the Anti-Corruption Action Center’s executive board, speaks at the Ukrainian school of political studies on Sept. 26, 2019. (Ukrainian school of political studies/Facebook)
This audio is created with AI assistance

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

Become a member Support us just once

Ukraine's State Investigation Bureau is preparing to bring criminal charges against Vitaly Shabunin, head of the Anti-Corruption Action Center's executive board, a law enforcement source told the Kyiv Independent on June 19.

Shabunin is expected to be charged with evading military service and illegally using a car acquired by volunteers for the army. Previously the information was also reported by a source cited by the Ukrainian news agency Interfax.

Shabunin, who joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine as a volunteer at the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion in 2022 and has served since then, denied the accusations and said the cases were fabricated. Shabunin, one of Ukraine's most influential anti-corruption crusaders, believes the cases to be a political vendetta against him by the President's Office, including President Volodymyr Zelensky's deputy chief of staff Oleh Tatarov.

The President's Office did not respond to requests for comment, while the State Investigation Bureau's spokesperson Olena Hitlianska said she could not comment on the report.

Shabunin has regularly criticized Tatarov, who was charged with bribery in 2020. The case against Tatarov has been obstructed by law enforcement agencies and closed.

"I've just found out from Interfax that Tatarov and Co. will try to jail me," Shabunin wrote on Facebook on June 19. "...I'm reiterating this for Tatarov and Co.: I joined the army as a volunteer during the first days of the full-scale invasion - on Feb. 25, 2022."

In March Shabunin posted a photo of his military ID, which indicates that he joined the Ukrainian army on that day.

Shabunin also said that he had legal grounds for demobilization but was not using them.

Commenting on the accusations of illegally using a car, Shabunin said that the vehicle had been transferred to him personally, not to his military unit. He added that, under Ukrainian law, he was not required to transfer it to the unit.

Shabunin also said that the car was being used on the front line in eastern Ukraine but he would use it again if it was needed for his military service.

"Why is the President's Office going after me?" Shabunin wrote. "Maybe because I'm regularly reporting on the way Tatarov runs Ukraine's law enforcement system. Maybe because I'm writing about the way the President's Office is replacing the state."

He added that the Anti-Corruption Action Center "is constantly destroying the authorities' anti-democratic and corrupt initiatives."

This is not the first time the authorities are accused of fabricating a criminal case against Shabunin as payback for his anti-corruption campaigns.

Under previous President Petro Poroshenko, Shabunin was charged in 2017 with beating a pro-government blogger. Shabunin admitted hitting him as payback for him insulting a female colleague but said that the blogger did not sustain any serious injuries and falsified a medical examination.

The case has seen no progress in court since then.

Tatarov, whom Shabinin accused of orchestrating the 2024 case, allegedly holds considerable influence over law enforcement agencies, according to investigative journalists.

He has become the symbol of Zelenskiy's tolerance of corruption in his inner circle. Despite the controversies, Zelensky has refused to suspend or fire Tatarov.

Tatarov was charged by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) in 2020 with giving an Hr 250,000 ($10,000) bribe to a forensic expert on behalf of ex-lawmaker Maksym Mykytas.

The case has been obstructed and effectively destroyed by ex-Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, a Zelensky protege; the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), and Ukraine’s corrupt judiciary.

In 2020, then Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Symonenko used a court ruling as a pretext to transfer the Tatarov case from the independent NABU to the presidentially controlled Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). The NABU believes the transfer of the Tatarov case to be unlawful since it is entirely within the bureau’s jurisdiction.

Then Symonenko replaced the group of prosecutors in the Tatarov case in what appeared to be another effort to sabotage it.

Another effort to block the case happened in 2021, when a court refused to extend the Tatarov investigation. Prosecutors subordinate to Symonenko effectively buried it by missing the deadline for sending it to trial.

Oleg Sukhov: US should sanction these 2 symbols of Ukraine’s corruption
On Dec. 9, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Oleksandr Tupytsky, head of Ukraine’s Constitutional Court, and Andriy Portnov, ex-deputy chief of staff for pro-Kremlin ex-President Viktor Yanukovych. Both stand accused of corruption and obstructing reforms. That was surely a great push for Ukrainian ref…

Editors' Picks

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

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

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