Ukraine Court Upholds Removal Of Regulator Accused of Graft

October 13, 2021
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Ukraine's top anti-corruption court has removed the former deputy head of the country's gambling regulator after accusations of illicitly receiving $90,000 to process licences and permits.

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Ukraine's top anti-corruption court has removed the former deputy head of the country's gambling regulator after accusations of illicitly receiving $90,000 to process licences and permits.

The Appeals Chamber of the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court on Monday upheld an appeal by the Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) to remove the suspect from his post at the Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (KRAIL).

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and SAPO arrested the KRAIL member on August 20. The detention followed a set of covert investigations launched after detectives say they were alerted to a "systematic acceptance of illegal benefits" at the regulator.

The permits in question were issued to business premises in the Chernihiv and Zaporizhzhia regions. The operators were also promised they would receive gambling licences, the NABU said in August.

On August 22, at the request of NABU detectives and SAPO prosecutors, the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court detained the unnamed suspect and set his bail at UAH5m (£164,500).

The detectives said they will continue to investigate these allegations to "expose other members of the organised criminal group" behind the bribes.

News of the suspected corruption comes as the Ukrainian regulator faces collapse, with its mandate due to expire at the end of October and legal confusion blocking its renewal.

The Cabinet of Ministers was scheduled to have announced a competitive mechanism for filling the regulator's senior positions, but so far it has failed to do so.

Sources within the Ukrainian gambling market told VIXIO GamblingCompliance that complications with Ukrainian legislation are behind the delay.

Corruption was also a major topic during the EU-Ukraine Summit that was held yesterday in Kyiv.

During the meeting, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about progress in implementing judicial reforms and anti-corruption measures.

Tackling corruption and implementing these legal reforms are a cornerstone of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which came into force in 2017.

The EU wants Ukraine to accelerate these reforms, according to POLITICO, as well as demanding the immediate appointment of a new head of SAPO.

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