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Ukraine agriculture minister held for alleged corruption

Kolomoisky contract killing
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Ukraine’s Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky was detained after being named a formal suspect in a multimillion-dollar corruption inquiry, prosecutors said Friday.

Blighted by severe corruption scandals since the fall of the Soviet Union, Kyiv has pledged to bolster its anti-graft efforts as part of its bid for European Union membership.

Solsky was accused of illegally seizing land worth more than $7 million when he was the head of a major farming company and a member of parliament.

An anti-corruption court ordered him to be held in custody until June 24, prosecutors said. Bail was set at 75.7 million hryvnias ($1.9 million).

Earlier this week, Solsky offered his resignation and promised to cooperate with the probe.

Prosecutors said Friday that they had also charged a dozen other people suspected in the case, including civil servants.

Solsky, who owned a number of farming businesses, was elected to Ukraine’s parliament in 2019 and was appointed agriculture minister in March 2022.

Several cases of corruption have emerged in Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022, although they have typically involved lower-level officials and been related to army procurement.

President Volodymyr Zelensky last year sacked the country’s defence minister over a series of procurement scandals in the army.

Separately, prosecutors said they had suspended for one month the deputy head of the regional council in the frontline Zaporizhzhia region.

The official was found to have been implicated in a bribery scandal worth at least 650,000 hryvnias ($16,000). Prosecutors said their pre-trial investigation was ongoing.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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