Ukrainian prosecutors have detained the head of the country’s Supreme Court for allegedly taking bribes.

The arrest comes a day after specialist investigators said they had “exposed large-scale corruption” at the court.

Prosecutors did not name the official and said they had not yet been served formally with a “notice of suspicion”.

But local media reported on Monday that Chief Justice Vsevolod Kniaziev had been detained in connection with a $3m (£2.4m; €2.9m) bribe.

Reuters said Mr Kniaziev could not be reached for comment.

Ukrainian politician Oleksiy Goncharenko said it was the highest ranking official in the country’s history to be arrested for a bribe.

On Monday, Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Bureau said on its Telegram and Facebook social media channels that a joint investigation with the Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office had “exposed large-scale corruption in the Supreme Court, namely a scheme for the leadership and judges of the Supreme Court to receive bribes”.

Accompanying the announcement the bureau posted a picture of piles of dollars stacked on a sofa. Reuters said the photograph could not be independently verified.

The anti-corruption bureau added that “emergency investigative actions are under way”.

Several local media outlets reported that Mr Kniaziev had been detained and would be served with an official “notice of suspicion” within 24 hours of his arrest.

The European Union has made fighting corruption a precondition for Ukraine joining the 27-member group. But despite progress at tackling the problem in recent years, Ukraine ranks 116th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *