Oleksandr Klymenko on July 28 was appointed head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) by Ukraine’s new prosecutor general, Andriy Kostin.
Earlier, on July 17, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the candidate for the position had already been selected and the decision was to be finalized by the competition commission. This was after a long delay of nearly two years in the appointment of the head of the SAPO since the end of the competition for this position.
At the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022, the competition commission several times postponed voting to confirm the election of the candidacy of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) detective, Oleksandr Klymenko. However, two days after the president's statement, the commission nevertheless recommended appointing Klymenko as head of the SAPO.
But even after that, the chairman of the board of the Anti-Corruption Action Center, Vitaly Shabunin, pointed out that Klymenko had still not been officially appointed, since the prosecutor general or his acting head should appoint the head of the SAPO.
Shabunin said that the office of the Prosecutor General might delay the appointment of Klymenko, and the President's Office could use this to disrupt this process.
“It is possible that while the Office of the Prosecutor General will delay with confirmation, which isn't required, a decision will appear on the appeal to cancel the competition procedure,” Shabunin said.
NV sets out the main facts about Oleksandr Klymenko, who nevertheless managed to head one of the key anti-corruption agencies in the state.
Dismissal from the National Police after discovery of theft scheme at Ukrzaliznytsia
Oleksandr Klymenko, 35, was born in September 1986 in Slobozhanshchyna (Northeastern part of Ukraine). He graduated with a law degree from the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University in Kharkiv.
In March 2010, he began working in the Internal Affairs in Kyiv, first as an investigator, and later as a senior investigator.
From November 2015, Klymenko worked as a senior investigator at the National Police, investigating, among other things, cases of property theft.
In particular, he discovered that Ukrzaliznytsia officials had signed fictitious contracts to siphon funds from the enterprise. To stop this, Klymenko wrote a letter, but his superior demanded that the letter be withdrawn. When Klymenko refused, he was reprimanded and fired.
High-profile cases of Klymenko in the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine
In March 2016, Klymenko won a competition at the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, or NABU, and became a detective. A year later, he was promoted to senior detective, and in November 2017, to department head.
“In 2020, I participated in a competition at the NABU for a promotion,” said Klymenko during an interview with Ukrainskaya Pravda in January 2022. “Although I scored the most points, I still lost it. I was placed second, not first. In fact, I no longer had the opportunity for any career growth within the bureau, because all the senior positions were occupied.”
According to Klymenko, he decided that he could do more for the country as the head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, thanks to his “significant experience and (work on) a large number of high-profile cases in the bureau.”
During his work at NABU, Klymenko took part in the investigation of the case of former MP Oleksandr Onishchenko. Onishchenko's "Gas Affair" is one of the largest corruption schemes in the history of Ukraine, organized by the former People's Deputy Oleksandr Onishchenko with the participation of 28 other people. They caused damage to the state fworthor a total of almost UAH 3 billion.
Of the 29 identified participants in the scheme, 11 people were found guilty, and three people, including Onishchenko, are on the wanted list. Cases against other suspects are being heard in court.
Klymenko also investigated the case of former head of the State Fiscal Service Roman Nasirov in connection with the Onishchenko case. The Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office approved and handed over an indictment to Nasirov and sent to the court an indictment on criminal proceedings on suspicion of committing a crime.
An indictment was approved and handed over to Nasirov by the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office in early November 2018.
Nasirov was detained by the NABU detectives on the evening of March 2, 2017. He is suspected of committing a crime under Part 2 of Art. 364 (abuse of official position resulting in grave consequences) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. In particular, Nasirov is suspected of causing damage to the state amounting to UAH 2 billion as part of the so-called “gas schemes” of the former MP Oleksandr Onishchenko.
Klymenko also took part in investigating the case of Oleh Tatarov, deputy head of the President's Office.
In December 2020, Tatarov was charged with bribery in the so-called Ukrbud case on apartments for members of the National Guard. According to the investigation, Tatarov, while a lawyer for Ukrbud construction company, together with the owner of the company Maksim Mykytas gave a bribe in the form of a parking space to an employee of the State Research Forensic Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in order to reduce downwards the estimated bvalue of a residential complex from UAH 81 million to UAH 7 million.
Tatarov became a deputy to the Head of the Office of President Andriy Yermak on August 5, 2020. Under the Presidency of Viktor Yanukovych, he was the head of the Main Investigation Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. His position was subject to the Law on the Lustration of Power, but he managed to avoid lustration. In response to criticism for assigning a position to such a person, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that there were “professionals” in the Ministry of Internal Affairs under Yanukovych.
Shevchenkovskiy District Court of Kyiv on Jan. 12, 2022 ordered the Prosecutor General’s Office to close the criminal proceedings against Tatarov. The Anti-Corruption Center noted that the court decision was made on the eve of the approval of the results of the competition for the head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, which NABU detective Oleksandr Klymenko won. Before that, in an interview, Klymenko said that if at the time of the investigationhe had been the head of the SAPO, he would have investigated the Tatarov case differently.