NewsUkrainian Agriculture Minister released on $1.9M bail amid charges

Ukrainian Agriculture Minister released on $1.9M bail amid charges

Corruption scandal in Kyiv. The Minister of Agriculture released from arrest.
Corruption scandal in Kyiv. The Minister of Agriculture released from arrest.
Images source: © East News | Andrzej Iwanczuk/REPORTER

4:53 PM EDT, April 26, 2024

The Ukrainian Minister of Agriculture, Mykola Solskyi, was released from custody on Friday after posting a bail of $1.9 million. The Ministry's press service confirmed his release.

"Mykola Solskyi, the Minister of Agricultural and Food Policy of Ukraine, was released on a $1.9 million bail. The High Anti-Corruption Court determined this amount. Following his release, Solskyi resumes his duties as the Minister of Agricultural and Food Policy," reads the statement on Telegram.

Previously, Solskyi was the subject of an arrest warrant by the High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine due to allegations of illegally acquiring state lands valued at approximately $7 million. Following these charges, he submitted his resignation on Thursday.

The High Anti-Corruption Court's judge, responding to a request from the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, opted for a 60-day temporary detention for Solskyi until June 9 (Eastern Time), within the preparatory proceedings. Nevertheless, the judge offered bail as an alternative to detention.

Solskyi could face up to 12 years in prison

At Thursday's hearing, a Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office prosecutor argued for Solskyi's temporary detention based on risks of him obstructing justice, tampering with witnesses, and evading the investigation.

The prosecution pointed out that "the severity of the offense" justifies restricting the accused's freedom. It was noted that Solskyi had made multiple border crossings during martial law, which his lawyer clarified were for business trips and one approved vacation.

On Thursday, prosecutors announced that Solskyi could be imprisoned for up to 12 years if convicted.

Solskyi refutes the accusations

Ruslan Stefanchuk, Speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, stated that Solskyi has resigned amidst the corruption allegations, with a vote on his resignation forthcoming.

On Tuesday, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) disclosed that Solskyi is suspected of unlawfully acquiring lands worth $7 million and attempting to seize additional lands valued at around $4 million.

Solskyi has rebutted these allegations, arguing that the accusations pertain to events from 2017-2018, when he was a lawyer and not in ministerial office.

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