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Bribery case of Ukraine's Supreme Court ex-chief: prosecutor dismissed

Bribery case of Ukraine's Supreme Court ex-chief: prosecutor dismissed SAPO prosecutor Oleksandr Omelchenko - second on the right (Yuliia Akymova, RBC-Ukraine)

The prosecutor of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) who was working on the bribery case of the ex-President of the Supreme Court of Ukraine was dismissed, as he told RBC-Ukraine.

According to the prosecutor Oleksandr Omelchenko, on June 29, he was in the office of SAPO Chief Oleksandr Klymenko, reporting on the progress of several criminal investigations. He was not informed about any staff changes.

"There was no mention of it at SAPO. It is inappropriate to dismiss a position at a time when only three out of six chiefs are performing their duties. Recently, one of the three mobilized chiefs started performing his official duties," Omelchenko said.

The head of the department is the main representative of the prosecution in court and possesses all the information related to a particular criminal case. However, on July 3, Omelchenko was informed about the reduction of his position.

"On Monday, July 3, at 9:20 am, I was informed about the order of the Prosecutor General to reduce the position of the head of the first department. At the same time, an analogous position, the deputy head of the department, was created," Omelchenko added.

SAPO's stance

SAPO told RBC-Ukraine that the reduction of Omelchenko's position had been planned in advance and was not related to the cases he was handling. Furthermore, SAPO mentioned that Omelchenko continues to be a prosecutor and has the right to remain in the position of a SAPO prosecutor. However, according to the order of the Prosecutor General from July 10, Omelchenko's name is not listed among the prosecutors who can lead the procedural guidance of cases in courts.

The prosecutor himself associates his dismissal with the bribe case to the ex-President of the Supreme Court of Ukraine Vsevolod Kniaziev he was working on. According to him, the decision to eliminate his position came after he approved a request from National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) to send Kniaziev's phone to Poland to extract necessary information.

"There have been no complaints during my 23 years of work, including 7.5 years in SAPO. Additionally, prosecutors are evaluated at the end of the year, and I and my prosecutors received the highest positive evaluation. I believe that the reduction of my position happened due to the investigation on Kniaziev," Omelchenko added.

Statement to the Prosecutors' Council

RBC-Ukraine obtained a statement from Omelchenko addressed to the Prosecutors' Council, requesting an evaluation of the situation. In the statement, he mentioned that on June 20, he approved a request from a NABU detective for international legal assistance from the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Poland to make a copy of the information in Kniaziev's phone. On June 21, Omelchenko was informed that Klymenko was interested in the location of the phone. The prosecutor went to Klymenko and informed him that, according to the latest information, the phone was not at NABU, and he didn't know its exact location.

"After that, he started shouting and interrogating me in an elevated tone, questioning whether the information that I had signed the request for international legal assistance in this criminal case regarding Kniaziev's phone was true and what specific questions were included in the request," the statement reads.

According to Omelchenko, Klymenko yelled and accused him of not having the right to involve experts from Poland.

"Based on the content of the statements and accusations against me by the Deputy Prosecutor General and SAPO Chief Klymenko, I got the impression that he was very agitated by the possibility of accessing the information in the suspect Kniaziev's phone," Omelchenko added in his statement.

Omelchenko was involved in high-profile criminal investigations. In addition to the Kniaziev case, the prosecutor's department oversaw the progress of cases involving the former Chairman of PrivatBank, Oleksandr Dubilet (misappropriation of UAH 8 billion), the former Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Klyuyev (embezzlement of UAH 170 million), the case of former Deputy Minister of Defense Ihor Khalimon (signing addenda to military units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine), the case of the Antonov State Enterprise (misappropriation of UAH 18 million), the case of the ex-Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Development Vasyl Lozynsky (bribery of $400,000), as well as the case against officials of the Ministry of Defense suspected of misappropriation of funds (the so-called Golden Eggs worth 17 hryvnias case).