Ukraine’s parliament on March 15 approved the stripping of immunity from prosecution from Yevhen Bakulin, a lawmaker from the Opposition Bloc, and to allow his arrest.
The Prosecutor General’s Office has charged Bakulin with the embezzlement of particularly large amounts of money while he was serving as the head of Ukraine’s state oil and gas company, Naftogaz of Ukraine, in 2010.
The embezzlement was part of the so-called “Boyko’s Drilling Rigs” case, when, reportedly under the supervision of the Fuel and Energy Minister at the time, Yuriy Boyko, Naftogaz purchased two oil and gas rigs for $800 million, almost a double their real price, and allegedly laundered the overpaid money – some $330 million.
Bakulin didn’t attend the parliament session, and despite the Rada’s approval of his arrest, he still has an opportunity to escape, as Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko earlier told parliament that Bakulin was probably abroad now.
The Kyiv Post couldn’t reach Bakulin for a comment.
Boyko, a lawmaker and the head of the Opposition Bloc, said that Bakulin was suffering health problems and had left the country for treatment in 2016.
Lutsenko during his speech at the parliament on March 15 said that his office had uncovered details of the criminal scheme for embezzlement during the purchase of the drilling rigs.
The scheme also involved former President Viktor Yanukovych and former First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Serhiy Arbuzov, who gave orders to Bakulin to conduct a sham tender, Lutsenko said.
The Prosecutor General’s Office suspects Bakulin of misappropriating over Hr 449 million and attempting to misappropriate over Hr 5.1 billion from Naftogaz, as well as misappropriating over $404 million from Chornomornaftogaz.
Most lawmakers from the Poroshenko Bloc, People’s Front, Samopomich, Batkivshchyna and the Radical Party voted for Bakulin’s arrest. The Opposition Bloc didn’t support the motion.
Lawmaker Sergii Leshchenko said that he has been waiting for a long time for the day when the truth about the “Boyko’s Drilling Rigs” would be heard inside the parliament session hall.
However, he said that the main person involved in the case had so far escaped justice.
“(Boyko), as Bakulin’s chief, had the authority either to stop or speed up the purchase of the drilling rigs,” Leshchenko said during his speech.
Boyko called the drilling rigs case a “dirty campaign” against him.
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