The Security Service of Ukraine, known as the SBU, announced on Jan. 23 that it had prevented a plotted assassination of one of its officials co-organized by another SBU officer.
The law enforcement agency arrested the suspect during a special operation carried out on Jan. 22. The day after, a Kyiv court order the suspect jailed for two months with no possibility of bail.
The arrested officer is suspected of attempting to murder Andrii Naumov, the head of the SBU’s internal security department. According to the chief editor of Censor.net news outlet, Yuriy Butusov, known to have many sources in law enforcement and defense areas, Naumov is a close associate of SBU Chief Ivan Bakanov.
Butusov said that the case points to an internal war over influence inside the law enforcement, which the SBU denied.
“An unprecedented event in the history of the SBU,” Butusov wrote on Facebook on Jan. 23. “Today the SBU leadership basically announced that open criminal fights between groups of influence began in Bakanov’s circle.”
According to Butusov’s sources in the SBU, the arrested official is the colonel of the SBU’s special unit Alpha, Andrii Rasiuk.
The SBU said it detained the suspect while he was passing part of the payment for the alleged plotted murder. According to the investigation, the officer offered $50,000 for the assassination, which involved several organizers.
According to Butusov’s sources, another SBU official, Dmytro Neskoromny, is suspected of ordering the murder. Neskromny is the SBU’s former deputy head and head of its anti-corruption and crime department, who currently works at the SBU with no official title. He has been put on the wanted list and is not allowed to leave the country, Butusov says, citing his sources in the State Border Service.
The SBU neither denied nor confirmed the information about Neskoromny, since it’s part of the ongoing investigation.
According to Butusov, Neskoromny used to be in charge of investigating Ukraine’s shadow economy. However, Naumov took over that are, making it possible grounds for conflict, Butusov says.
Butusov calls Naumov the “right hand” and a friend of SBU chief Bakanov, who made a quick impressive career since joining the structure about a year ago. President Volodymyr Zelensky granted Naumov the rank of brigadier general in October. According to Butusov, Naumov has exceptional influence in the SBU and is involved in the covering of corruption schemes.
Butusov says that the SBU might have staged the assassination case to discredit Neskoromny.
The Kyiv Post couldn’t reach the SBU’s press service for comment.
Zelensky appointed Bakanov to head the SBU in August 2019. Bakanov is a childhood friend of Zelensky, who was the head of his presidential campaign. Earlier he was the head lawyer of Zelensky’s production company Kvartal 95.
During a press briefing on Jan. 23, Anatoliy Bulich, the head of the SBU’s investigation department, said that the mentioning of Zelensky in the context of this murder case is an attempt to draw attention and distort facts.
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