In Ukraine, which has a major problem with corruption, the authorities are taking tougher action against suspects: investigators searched several properties on Wednesday. According to a high-ranking official, the homes of the oligarch Ihor Kolomojskyj, a former minister, and tax offices in the capital Kyiv were searched. Kolomojskyj used to be close to today's President Volodymyr Zelenskyj.
The head of Zelenskyy's party "Servant of the People", David Arachamia, wrote in online services that, among others, the houses of the influential billionaire Kolomoyskyy and former Interior Minister Arsen Avakov had been searched. In addition, the management of the customs authority had been dismissed. Arachamia said that high-ranking representatives of the Ministry of Defense had also received visits from investigators.
The Ukrainian domestic secret service SBU published pictures of the house search at Kolomojskyj. The case is said to be about the misappropriation of 40 billion Ukrainian hryvnia (the equivalent of around one billion euros).
Kolomojskyj is on a US sanctions list and has had a dubious reputation for years. Kolomoiskyi supported current President Zelenskyi during his presidential election campaign in 2019. The two remained close friends for a while, but Zelenskyi later distanced himself from Kolomoiskyi.
"The country will change because of the war, and if someone is not ready for change, the state will make them change," Interior Minister Arachamia said after the raids, referring to the fight against corruption in the country.
Several deputy ministers, governors and high-ranking officials resigned or were fired last week as a result of an alleged corruption scandal in the Ukrainian army. The impetus for the wave of layoffs was, among other things, the allegation made in media reports that the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense had bought food for the soldiers at significantly inflated prices.
Before the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine began almost a year ago, the country had been regularly shaken by corruption scandals. Before the war began, the country was ranked 122 out of 180 on Transparency International's corruption index.
Fighting corruption is one of Brussels' most important demands for Kyiv's entry into the European Union.