Kyiv chief prosecutor spent 10 days abroad during New Year holidays – RFE/RL

2 February, 07:27 PM
Oleh Kiper (Photo:Oleh Kiper/Facebook)

Oleh Kiper (Photo:Oleh Kiper/Facebook)

The chief of the Kyiv City Prosecutor's Office, Oleh Kiper, spent 10 days abroad during the recent New Year holidays, the Skhemy investigative news project run by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reported on Feb. 2.

He excused the trip by stating that it was due to "family affairs."

According to journalists, Kiper left Ukraine on Dec. 29, 2022, having crossed the border with Poland, and returned on Jan. 8, 2023. He confirmed to Skhemy that he was on vacation, which, according to him, "was not a holiday or New Year's vacation." Yet, he refused to disclose the country that he had visited, citing security reasons, as his wife "changed her Russian citizenship to a Ukrainian one in the summer over the events related to the Russian war against Ukraine."

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"For family-related reasons and for the need to travel abroad, I submitted a holiday application late in December 2022, asking permission to leave the country," Kiper said in a response provided to Skhemy via his press service.

"All documents authorizing travel abroad were forwarded to the respective agencies for consideration and, having studied them and clarified the rationale, they granted their permission."

In turn, investigative journalist Mykhailo Tkach said that, according to the Ukrainska Pravda media outlet, Kiper was vacationing in Vienna. The journalist also shared the Kiper vacation order signed by Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin.

Kiper says he left Ukraine twice for private purposes during the full-scale war. In addition to the New Year trip, he was on leave in August 2022 for "medical treatment" in Austria. He provided Skhemy with a copy of a bill for medical services for EUR 1,500 ($1,637) in a Vienna-based private clinic.

The journalists also discovered out that at time of the publication, the Russian passport of the prosecutor's wife, Irina Kiper, was still valid. They checked its validity using the official service of the Russian Interior Ministry. Her passport is not listed as invalid, and Skhemy also found her individual taxpayer number on the official website of the Federal Tax Service of Russia.

Oleh Kiper has worked in the prosecutor's office since 2001, first in Odesa and then in Ivano-Frankivsk. He was also deputy head of a department and headed a unit at the Prosecutor General's Office.

On June 9, 2020, the then Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova appointed Kiper as deputy prosecutor of Kyiv, and three months later, he became head of the agency.

Prior to his appointment to the Kyiv Prosecutor's Office, Kiper was a free-lance adviser to the head of the President’s Office, Andriy Yermak. He was subject to the lustration law, which allowed for the removal of civil servants who had worked during the administration of fugitive ex-president Victor Yanukovych, but in 2019, the District Administrative Court of Kyiv reinstated him as senior prosecutor of the Main Supervision Department and ruled that Kiper's lustration was groundless.

On Jan. 24, following a scandal involving a vacation in Spain, Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Symonenko was fired after, according to journalists, spending 10 days on vacation there. A few days later, MP Mykola Tyshchenko was expelled from the Servant of the People parliamentary faction and the Party itself because of his trip to Thailand.

On Jan. 27, the Cabinet of Ministers, on behalf of the National Security and Defense Council, passed a resolution banning officials and civil servants from traveling abroad during the war without good reason. This also applies to civil servants unfit for military service.

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