Kiev, Ukraine. While no longer a daily feature in Ukrainian politics, Arseny Petrovich Yatsenyuk continues to flirt with arrest, as one after another of his associates get taken away in handcuffs to the graybar hotel in corruption rich Kiev.
The western states and lenders that are propping up Ukraine financially, helping guide its reforms and backing its bid to pivot away from Russia and towards Europe, have demanded greater effort to tackle corruption.
Agents from Ukraine’s national anti-corruption bureau (Nabu) arrested Mykola Martynenko, a close ally of ex-prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, for allegedly embezzling $17.3 million through a crooked deal to sell uranium at inflated prices to a state-run enrichment plant.
Detectives of the Anti-Corruption Bureau along with prosecutors of the anti-corruption prosecution have detained Mykola Martynenko on suspicion of embezzlement and state companies’ fraud. He was the deputy chief of Mr Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front party, and reputedly an extremely influential figure in the backroom dealing that still dominates politics in Ukraine, much to the frustration of its people.
He is a close ally of former Prime Minister, leader of the Narodniy Front, Arseny Yatsenyuk. Mr Martynenko, who formerly served as head of the energy committee in Ukraine’s parliament, resigned as a deputy in late 2015 amid reports that he was being investigated in Switzerland on corruption allegations he also denies.
“From the start of the investigation [in December 2015], Nabu detectives sent 16 requests for international legal assistance to eight countries,” the anti-corruption agency said in a statement.
Igor Cherezov, a lawyer for Mr Martynenko, said the allegations were politically motivated, and insisted his client would fight them and had no intention of fleeing Ukraine.
After the arrest, incredibly Martynenko was placed on bail after his fellow criminals in the Rada came forward and demanded release from jail in Kiev. Among them- three ministers from the Narodniy Front: Minister of education Lilia Grinevich,Vladimir Omelian, Igor Zhdanov, Andriy Magera and MPs Leonid Yemets, Georgiy Lohvynskyy, Andriy Teteruk, Mykola Knyazhytskyy, Maksym Polyakov, Victor Yelenskyy, Olena Ledovskikh, Olena Masorina, Pavlo Pynzenyk, Gennadiy Kryvosheya, Vitali Stashuk, Hvicha Meparishvili, Victor Krivenko, Vitalyi Korchik, Olena Boyko, Vadym Pidbereznyak, Fedir Bendyuzhenko were all involved in getting Martynenko out of pre trial detention.
The investigation revealed that, among other things, the money was spent on renting property in the EU for the suspects’ prostitutes, on medical treatment, and on paying lawyers to defend the suspect in another criminal case which is being investigated by the prosecutor’s office in Switzerland.