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HACC okays in absentia investigation into misappropriation of Mezhyhirya residence by Yanukovych, his son

KYIV. Aug 26 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The High Anti-Corruption Court (HACC) gave permission to conduct a special pretrial investigation against ex-President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and his son Oleksandr, who are suspects in the Mezhyhirya case, the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) reports.

“On August 25, 2021, the investigating judge HACC granted the motions of the NABU detective, agreed by the SAPO prosecutor, to grant permission to carry out a special pretrial investigation (in absentia) against the former owner of the Mezhyhirya state residence and his son, who are suspected of illegal handling of the complex of structures on the territory of Vyshgorod district in their favor. The damage to the state exceeds UAH 500 million,” the message posted on the SAPO’s Facebook official page says.

This decision will allow to complete the pretrial investigation against the suspects who have been hiding in the Russian Federation for seven years.

As reported, NABU has been investigating the case of the seizure of the Mezhyhirya residence since December 2019. The materials of the criminal proceedings amount to more than 1,500 volumes.

The property of the Mezhyhirya residence was arrested by the Pechersky District Court of Kyiv on July 13, 2015 (the decision was confirmed by Kyiv’s Court of Appeal on August 10 of the same year). On August 1, 2017, Kyiv’s Economic Court of Appeal invalidated the agreements under which the Mezhyhirya residence was removed from state ownership in 2007.

Earlier, NABU and SAPO applied to HACC with a petition to choose a preventive measure in the form of detention for ex-President Viktor Yanukovych and his son Oleksandr.

“They are suspects in the case of taking possession of the Mezhyhirya residence by abuse of their official position,” the NABU press service said on the Telegram channel on Wednesday.

The actions of the ex-president and his son are qualified under Part 5 of Article 191, Part 3 of Article 209 (misappropriation, embezzlement or seizure of property by abuse of official position; legalization (laundering) of proceeds from crime) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. Oleksandr Yanukovych is also charged with Part 5 of Article 27 (complicity) of the Criminal Code.

At the same time, Yanukovych’s lawyers argue that neither the ex-president nor his son are suspects in the Mezhyhirya case, since they have not been given suspicion notices.