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 Law enforcers solved first in Ukraine’s history mass buying of votes over the Internet, - MP Anton Herashchenko

A group of perpetrators applied revolutionary election engineering in Dnipropetrovsk to bribe voters using advanced Internet technology, smart phones, instant messengers, e-mail, bank cards, and cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

MP and Adviser to Interior Minister, Anton Herashchenko wrote on Facebook, Censor.NET reports.

He wrote: "Thousands of Dnipropetrovsk residents began receiving messages via the popular instant messenger Viber in mid-October. The messages contained proposal to sell the votes in the election. Those who have agreed to sell their votes were offered to send confirmation of their consent via Viber and get balance replenishment in the amount of 50 hryvnia (about 2.3 $) in return.

"In such a manner, the buyers of votes were checking voters' loyalty to the idea of selling their votes and had won the potential sellers by earning their trust for just 50 hryvnia, or 2.3 dollars. According to the investigation, there were over 10,000 people wishing to sell their votes," the MP wrote.

"Then, a few days before the election day, those, who had given their consent to cooperate, received a proposal to send to the specified e-mail a photo of their ballot for the election of the mayor of Dnipropetrovsk marked whom they had voted for.

"This did not require a person to vote for any particular candidate in the Dnipropetrovsk mayoral election.

Read more: Vilkul's campaign office could have been buying votes over the Internet for Kremlin's money, - Advisor to Interior Minister Shkiriak

"Apparently the organizers of the online buying of votes were aware that any of the candidates (neither Vilkul nor Filatov) had clear advantage in the first round of elections in Dnipropetrovsk according to the polls. Therefore they kept working counting to buy guaranteed votes in the second round of Dnipropetrovsk mayoral election.

"Once the first round of election was held, Dnipropetrovsk mayoral candidate, MP Borys Filatov appealed to the National Police Cyber Security Department and submitted information about a group of online buyers of votes, which the volunteer IT experts indifferent to this outrage helped him to gather," Herashchenko wrote.

"The persons, who organized the voters' bribery, are currently identified.

"In particular, it was established that the group of perpetrators received the funds necessary for large-scale bribery of voters to their Bitcoin electronic purse. The money was transferred from Moscow!

"The unicity of this case is that the perpetrators have created the remote way to buy votes of the Ukrainians over the Internet using the poverty of the Ukrainian people and their disrespect to own right to vote. In this case, the organizers of the crime may be anywhere - in Moscow, Beijing, or Antananarivo.

"All they needed to organize the buying of votes was money, greedy perpetrators of the crime, technical staff, and the will of the person, who ordered the crime.

"The court may condemn perpetrators to a one-year imprisonment or fine of 3400 - 5100 hryvnia (about $140-200).

"Why the fact of citizens' sale of votes for a penny became possible anyway? I think the part of the reason is the terrible poverty which the majority of Ukrainian citizens live in. Another partly is lack of self-esteem and respect to one's right to elect the authorities, who will wipe feet on citizens after being elected through fraud and bribery," the MP concluded.

 
 
 
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