Agents from the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) on Thursday detained a probable participant of the criminal organization that stole natural gas extracted under joint operation agreements with public joint-stock company Ukrgazvydobuvannia. The suspect had been hiding from detectives and was put on the wanted list in August 2016.
NABU’s official website does not name the suspect or indicate if the person is Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine deputy Oleksandr Onyshchenko. The post says the individual was on the wanted list for 14 months, that is, from August 2016 (the same applies to Onyshchenko).
The arrested person is suspecting of committing crimes pursuant to Part 1 of Article 255, Part 4 of Article 28, Part 5 of Article 191, Part 3 of Article 209, and Part 2 of Article 205 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code.
The arrested person is currently being held in a pretrial confinement facility where pretrial confinement measures are being contemplated.
As earlier reported, a pretrial investigation determined embezzlement of assets during the extraction and sale of natural gas according to agreements on joint activity of Ukrgazvydobuvannia resulted in almost Hr 3 billion in losses to the state. NABU agents began investigating the case in December 2015 and identified 27 suspects.
The case against eight members of the so-called ‘gas case’ was heard in Kyiv’s Solomiansky District court on May 30. One of the suspects, Valery Postny, was arrested, but later released by the court. Onyshchenko is suspected by Ukrainian law-enforcement agencies of organizing the scheme under which money was embezzled from the extraction and sale of natural gas under agreements of joint activity with Ukrgazvydobuvannia. Ukraine’s SBU Security Service later initiated a case of state treason against him. Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada gave its assent to strip Onyshchenko of deputy immunity from prosecution and arrest him on July 5, 2016. However, Onyshchenko used his status as a parliamentarian to flee Ukraine the day before the vote. He was subsequently put in the national wanted list on August 8, 2016.
On May 4, 2017, it became known that Interpol refused to put Onyshchenko on its wanted list.