Anti-corruption authorities confirm arrest of Supreme Court Head Knyazev, preparing charges

16 May, 04:27 PM
Vsevolod Knyazev (Photo:REUTERS/Leah Millis)

Vsevolod Knyazev (Photo:REUTERS/Leah Millis)

The Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office or SAP, and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine or NABU, have confirmed the arrest of Vsevolod Knyazev, the head of the Ukrainian Supreme Court, who is a suspect in a large-scale corruption scheme.

SAP prosecutor Oleksandr Omelchenko said at a press briefing on May 16 that Knyazev was now in custody.

“Currently, the Head of the Supreme Court has been detained, and measures are being taken to verify the involvement of other individuals in the criminal offense,” he said.

In addition to Knyazev, another person has been detained, with charges yet to be formally filed, but currently being prepared.

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NABU Director Semen Kryvonos revealed that his bureau has documented a series of contacts between the owner of Finances and Credit Group, Kostiantyn Zhevaho, and one of the owners of an attorney group used to conceal criminal activities. These contacts involved an agreement regarding unlawful benefits in favor of high-ranking court officials for “rendering the necessary decision” in favor of the entrepreneur.

Businessman Zhevaho denies his involvement in the multimillion-dollar bribe, as stated in a press release issued by his spokesperson to Forbes.

“This is the most high-profile case during the tenure of NABU and SAP and the biggest exposure of a top-ranking official in the judicial branch of power,” said Kryvonos.

He said the suspects in the case also attempted to influence the appointment of members of the Higher Qualification Commission of Judges (VKKS), the body responsible for career-related matters within the judicial branch of power.

On the evening of May 15, it was reported by the media that Vsevolod Knyazev, the Head of the Supreme Court, is suspected of receiving a $3 million bribe, which was documented by NABU and SAP.

Later, the anti-corruption agencies announced the exposure of “massive corruption in the Supreme Court” without disclosing the names of the individuals involved.

On May 16, an extraordinary plenary session of the Supreme Court will be convened.

Knyazev was elected as the Head of the Supreme Court in late October 2021. Prior to that, he served as a judge and secretary of the Supreme Chamber of the Supreme Court since 2017.

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