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 Five suspects in Onyshchenko's "gas case" make plea deal, - NABU

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The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) says five suspects in the case against Verkhovna Rada MP Oleksandr Onyshchenko have made a plea deal.

Censor.NET reports referring to the NABU press service.

Read more: Onyshchenko's case probed in leaps and bounds, 20 suspects already identified, - NABU's Sytnyk

As reported, two of the three cooperation agreements on investment and production activities between the major state-owned gas company Ukrhazvydobuvannia (Ukraine's gas production) and two companies-participants of the so-called "Onyshchenko's gas scheme" Nadra Heocenter LLC and HUS Company LLC have been annulled. According to the contracts, the produced gas was sold through sham auctions at reduced prices to intermediary firms which then resold it to industrial customers at market prices.

The director of Lviv Universal Exchange, the director of Ukrainian Universal Commodity Exchange, and an exchange broker are reported to be among the individuals that agreed to cooperate with the investigation. They organized sham auctions for gas sales in favor of companies controlled by Onyshchenko. In addition, a facilitator and a person responsible for the creation of fictitious companies used to siphon off the proceeds from the resale of gas have also agreed to cooperate with the NABU.

Read more: NABU hopes UK to change its standard practice and extradite Onyshchenko to Ukraine

"The task of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine is not only to expose corrupt officials but also eradicate corrupt schemes that caused damage to the state during many years. A good example of such an activity by newly established anti-corruption agencies - NABU and SAP (Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office) - is exposure and elimination of the so-called 'Onyshchenko's gas scheme'," NABU Head Artem Sytnyk said.

On March 16, the NABU raided the office of Oleksandr Onyshchenko. It stated the searches were carried out under the pre-trial investigation into abuse of office during the sale of natural gas extracted jointly with Ukrhazvydobuvannia SE.

Later, the NABU requested the Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) to lift the immunity of people's deputy Oleksandr Onyshchenko. Moreover, the NABU and the PGO claim Onyshchenko is involved in embezzlement of 1.6 billion hryvnia (approx. $64.02 million).

On June 16, Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko issued a motion requesting Verkhovna Rada's consent for criminal prosecution, detention, and pretrial confinement of Onyshchenko. On July 5, the parliament approved the detention and arrest of the people's deputy.

The suspect himself stated he was busy with the preparation for the upcoming Olympics and not going to react to NABU's actions. On July 29, Onyshchenko said he was in the UK and had applied for political asylum.
 
 
 
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