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You're reading: Court arrests lawmaker Dobkin; release on bail likely (UPDATED)

Pechersk District Court of Kyiv ordered two-month custody for Mykhailo Dobkin, a lawmaker from the Opposition Bloc and former Kharkiv mayor. Alternatively, Dobkin can pay bail of Hr 50 million ($1.9 million) within five days, according to a July 15 ruling.

This amount is three times less than requested by prosecutors, and nearly a quarter of the estimated losses he’s suspected of costing the state through corruption. Additionally, the measure raised eyebrows because usually suspects are arrested immediately and are released after they pay bail. However, according to the July 15 Facebook post of Larysa Sargan, spokesperson for the Prosecutor General’s Office, Dobkin will only be arrested if he fails to pay the bail.

The Prosecutor General’s Office suspects Dobkin of abusing his powers during the allocation of land plots in Kharkiv in 2006-2010 during his tenure as city mayor. The assumed losses were estimated at Hr 227 million ($8,7 million)

Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko summoned Dobkin for interrogation on July 14, a day after the parliament approved his arrest, claiming that he could not detain him without a court warrant. This led to criticism from a number of lawmakers and activists, including Yegor Sobolev, from the Samopomich party, Halia Chyzhyk from the Center for Democracy and Rule of Law and Oleksandr Lemenov from the Reanimation Package of Reforms. They said prosecutors could have detained him immediately but failed to do so for an unknown reason.

At the same time, Lemenov doubts that Dobkin will make an attempt to flee, despite the five-day deadline for paying the bail that the court gave him.

“Dobkin will flee only when earth is burning under his feet,” he says. “Now is not the case. It`s obvious that the lawmaker is very confident.”

From the very beginning Dobkin claimed prosecutors did not have enough evidence and his case would “fall apart” without even getting to the trial stage.

Opposition Bloc lawmakers Yuryi Boiko, a former vice prime minister under President Viktor Yanukovych — who fled the country for Russia after being driven out by the EuroMaidan Revolution on Feb. 22,2014 — and Nestor Shufrych have already expressed the readiness to bail out their ally, even if the court kept it at Hr 150 million, set by the Prosecutor General’s Office.

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