Kyiv's mayor has defended his recently arrested counterpart in Odesa and said he should be released on bail as mayors "perform a difficult and important function... in critical conditions of war."
Gennadiy Trukhanov, was taken into custody by police on Thursday, May 4, in connection with a major corruption case dating from before the invasion.
Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said that as head of the Association of Cities of Ukraine he has to "defend the rights and interests of local government" and highlighted the crucial role mayors in Ukraine currently play in fixing "infrastructure destruction, problems with electricity and water supply" caused by Russian attacks.
"They take care of the livelihood of the population of the communities," he added, insisting that his argument for the release of Trukhanov is "not about names, but about principles".
According to Klitschko, the case against Trukhanov has been going on for more than a year, and the courts have been "making different decisions" all this time.
"This is already the third mayor who was actually removed through the courts. And this looks like another attempt to oppress local self-government," he said, adding: “And, unfortunately, it is already becoming an alarming trend to remove mayors elected by the community. That is why the ACU asked the court to grant Trukhanov bail."
At the same time, Klitschko assured that "he was not going to make a deposit and will not" because he usually "directs his funds to help the Armed Forces."
The spokesperson of the High Anti-Corruption Court (HACC), Olesya Chemerys, said that the Mayor of Kyiv and People's Deputy Anton Kisse were present at the meeting on choosing a preventive measure for Trukhanov. Klitschko requested that Odesa Mayor be released on bail by the ACU.
"According to the law, any person has the right to ask to be given bail. But this is not just a request - the person who takes bail must ensure that those whom he takes as bail fulfill all the duties assigned to him," the spokeswoman emphasized.
The Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) reported that the Mayor of Odesa, Gennadiy Trukhanov, was taken into custody by the police on Thursday, May 4, in connection with the Krayan case, an embezzlement investigation.
The case dates back to 2017 when the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) accused Trukhanov of organizing a city council vote to purchase an old factory building for $7 million, which had been bought for only $152,000 by a private firm at the beginning of the year.
On April 25, the HACC ordered Trukhanov to pay bail worth over $800,000 as a preventive measure while investigations into the embezzlement case continue.
However, Trukhanov failed to pay the bail and SAPO requested the HACC to take him into custody. On Thursday, the HACC decided to arrest Trukhanov for 60 days with an alternative to paying bail over $360,000. The Odesa Mayor was arrested on the premises of the HACC.
Trukhanov, a controversial politician, was elected as Mayor of Odesa in 2014. Although he was aligned with pro-Moscow political parties, earlier in his career, he positioned himself in recent years as an advocate of Odesa's economic growth. His critics have accused him of running a corrupt city hall and the NABU has investigated a number of alleged embezzlement cases in the Odesa municipality,in which Trukhanov is alleged to be involved.
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