Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova has blocked a graft case against Oleg Tatarov, a deputy chief of staff for President Volodymyr Zelensky, by taking it away from four prosecutors who were in charge of it, sources familiar with the case told the Kyiv Post.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to talk with the media. Other news outlets also reported this, citing their sources.

The Prosecutor General’s Office and the President’s Office did not respond to requests for comment.

The alleged sabotage comes amid other efforts by Venediktova to block charges against top Zelensky allies — something that runs counter to Zelensky’s election promises to eradicate corruption.

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) is investigating alleged embezzlement conducted through a housing development contract for Ukraine’s National Guard and carried out by real estate company UkrBud, which is owned by Maksym Mykytas, a former lawmaker.


Investigators suspect that Tatarov, who used to serve as a lawyer for UkrBud, bribed forensic expert Kostyantyn Dubonos to get false evaluation results that helped the company.

The four anti-corruption prosecutors were stripped of the authority to pursue the case right as NABU detectives planned to arrest Tatarov on Dec. 2, the news site reported, citing its sources. As a result of Venediktova’s actions, Tatarov was not arrested.

Instead of the four prosecutors, Venediktova appointed herself and acting Chief Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Maksym Hryshchuk to oversee the case.

The fired prosecutors and the NABU had drafted charges for Tatarov, according to the Kyiv Post’s sources.

The NABU confirmed that the prosecutors were changed in the Mykytas case, but did not mention Tatarov. The bureau added that Venediktova had replaced the prosecutors secretly, without telling them anything and without any legal grounds.

“The NABU is convinced that this situation is the continuation of deliberate pressure on investigators,” it said in a statement.


On Dec. 1, Zelensky and officials of his office held a meeting and decided to protect Tatarov from the NABU, according to

On the same day, the NABU and anti-corruption prosecutors charged Mykytas with giving a bribe. He agreed to a plea bargain and testified against other suspects.

Mykytas testified that he gave bribes to forensic expert Dubonos for falsifying an expert assessment in his case and then to Serhiy Moysak, a judge of the High Anti-Corruption Court, for letting him off the hook, reported. He also said that he had given a $125,000 bribe to former National Guard head Yuriy Allerov, who previously denied the accusations of wrongdoing.

Moysak could not be reached for comment through the High Anti-Corruption Court.

On Nov. 27, the NABU and anti-corruption prosecutors asked the High Anti-Corruption Court to authorize Tatarov’s arrest, but Moysak refused, according to

The High Anti-Corruption Court arrested Dubonos on Dec. 2. On the same day, the NABU published Mykytas’ correspondence with an accomplice about the bribe.

The NABU said that Mykytas had paid Hr 50 million ($1.76 million) in damages to the state budget. The NABU also froze suspects’ assets worth Hr 300 million ($10.6 million) in the case.


Mykytas’ accomplices Olena Soloma and Alysa Grynchuk also agreed to a plea bargain.

On Nov. 16, Grynchuk was sentenced to a 4-year suspended sentence as part of the plea bargain, while Soloma received a 3-year suspended sentence.

On Nov. 29, Tatarov lashed out at NABU and the agency’s chief, Artem Sytnyk. He said that Sytnyk “did not have the moral right” to be in charge of the anti-corruption agency and must be sacked. He also hinted that NABU was under foreign control, repeating a conspiracy theory especially popular among pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.

Later, it emerged that Tatarov’s comments came after he learned the NABU was planning to arrest him.

Tatarov was appointed to the Zelensky administration in early August, despite the fact that he used to serve in the country’s Interior Ministry during the times of President Viktor Yanukovych. During the EuroMaidan Revolution of 2013-2014, Tatarov falsely accused protesters of attacking the riot police, which he claimed provoked the police and led to beatings.

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