Ukraine's High Anti-Corruption Court arrested UkrLandFarming chairman Oleh Bakhmatyuk in absentia for allegedly bribing the former head of the Federal Tax Service Roman Nasirov and his adviser, according to the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) release and Bakhmatyuk's statement.
SAPO did not name Bakhmatyuk directly in their statement. However, Bakhmatyuk confirmed his arrest in his own statement released on March 7, claiming it was a "gross violation of international law" and that the legal action "humiliates" Ukraine in the eyes of the international community.
The press release states that Bakhmatyuk is accused of trying to give Hr 722 million ($19.3 million) in bribes to ensure VAT reimbursement to legal entities he controlled, prompting detectives from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) to call for his arrest.
On Feb. 3, NABU concluded its investigation into Nasirov. Investigators established that between 2015-2016, during his time as head of the Federal Tax Service, Nasirov received $5.5 million for providing Hr 540 million ($14.5 million) in VAT reimbursement to agricultural holding companies in August 2015 and over 21 million euros for the compensation of almost 2.7 billion euros in VAT reimbursement between February 2015 to August 2016.
Nasirov has been under arrest since October 2022, with the bail set at Hr 532 million.
Nasirov's first arrest came in March 2017, when he was still in office at the Tax Service. He was then suspected of embezzling Hr 2 billion with the controversial businessman and lawmaker Oleksandr Onyshchenko. There has been no ruling in the 2017 case yet.
Nasirov has denied all wrongdoing.
Established in 2014, NABU is Ukraine's main anti-corruption investigation agency, tasked with "preventing, detecting, terminating, investigating, and disclosing corruption and other criminal offenses within its jurisdiction."