Ukraine suspects lawmaker of first-ever cryptocurrency bribe
Anti-corruption committee member may have offered $50,000 in bitcoin in return for state funds to rebuild infrastructure under his control
Kyiv — Ukrainian investigators suspect a lawmaker of attempting to bribe the head of a government reconstruction agency in the country’s first documented cryptocurrency kickback, authorities said on Tuesday.
The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) said the lawmaker, a MP’s anti-corruption committee, is believed to have offered the equivalent of $50,000 in bitcoin in exchange for state funds to rebuild infrastructure under his control.
The bureau did not identify the official, whom prosecutors served with an official notice of suspicion.
The head of Ukraine’s State Agency for Restoration and Infrastructure Development reported the bribe to authorities after receiving the first $10,000 tranche, NABU said.
“This is the first illegal benefit in cryptocurrency in the history of Ukraine’s anti-corruption institutions that has been documented,” the agency said in a statement.
Ukraine has stepped up efforts to stamp out corruption as it pursues membership of the EU, which has made the fight against graft a key condition for negotiations to begin.
In an interview earlier this year, NABU chief Semen Kryvonos said his agency would prioritise fighting wartime crimes in strategic sectors such as defence and reconstruction.
On Tuesday, investigators announced they suspected two high-ranking cybersecurity officials of embezzlement.
In a statement on Facebook, the state reconstruction agency said zero tolerance of graft was “a key principle” of its work.
“Our co-operation with law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies was and will be systemic,” it said.
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