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Russia-Ukraine war: West can help Ukraine combat graft, says anti-corruption prosecutor
Ukraine’s anti-corruption prosecutor said the country’s allies in the West could help Kyiv tackle its efforts to crack down on graft in the country. The efforts come as Ukraine is looking to join the European Union.
Ukraine’s director of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, Oleksandr Klymenko, told Reuters on Wednesday that the country’s Western allies could assist Kyiv in cracking down on graft in the country by extraditing more people who are under investigation. However, Klymenko said that most of the countries Ukraine has asked to extradite suspects in corruption cases have declined.
“In 90 percent of our cases, we have one or two or three or more subjects who are abroad, and the procedure for handling these people over to Ukraine is complicated,” said Klymenko, citing the countries where suspects are found included Austria, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
“The investigation of a criminal case is quite ineffective when we can’t return these people to Ukraine from various jurisdictions for the administration of due justice,” said the top prosecutor.
Klymenko said that easing extradition was “extremely relevant” to Kyiv’s efforts to tackle corruption. Klymenko said that countries usually cite security concerns during the ongoing war and the conditions of detention in Ukraine, but Kyiv had always guaranteed that the suspects would be in safe custody.
The efforts come amidst the European Commission’s recommendations for Ukraine to tackle corruption as a condition for membership talks to start. Klymenko said the priority for the anti-corruption authorities in Ukraine was to root out the schemes and illicit networks that made graft systemic in Ukraine.
On Thursday, the head of the International Olympic Committee criticized the reaction of European governments toward its plan to reinstate athletes from Russia and Belarus to the international sporting event despite the ban over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. IOC chief Thomas Bach told a news conference that the reaction of the European governments was “deplorable” and that they did not respect “the autonomy of sport.”
The governments of Ukraine, the UK, Poland, and the Czech Republic, among other countries, criticized the IOC’s plan for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete. The German Olympic Committee has also opposed the reinstatement of Russian athletes to international sport.