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Ukraine's Anticorruption Agency Reportedly Detains Interior Minister's Son

A special police unit stands guard near the apartment of Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov’s son, Oleksandr, who was reportedly detained in Kharkiv on October 31.

Reports from Ukraine say anticorruption investigators have detained the son of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.

Sources in the National Anticorruption Bureau (NABU) were quoted as saying that Oleksandr Avakov was detained on October 31 after his home in the eastern city of Kharkiv was searched.

Avakov confirmed to the Ukrayinska Pravda news site that detectives "came to my son to conduct a search."

NABU said in a statement that it detained three individuals, including a former deputy interior minister and a businessman, in an embezzlement case.

It said the investigation relates to the alleged embezzlement of 14 million hryvnyas ($520,000) of state budget funds allocated to the Interior Ministry to buy backpacks in 2014-2015.

NABU did not give any names, saying that the detained persons will soon be officially informed that they are suspects in the case.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov (file photo)
Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov (file photo)

Earlier in the day, NABU confirmed Facebook media reports saying that searches were conducted at the residences of "individuals believed to be involved" in the case, but did not give any names.

Meanwhile Ukraine's Interior Ministry said it considers NABU's actions “grounded in politics rather than the law."

"A hybrid war that is going on in Ukraine focuses on discrediting politicians and officials who firmly stand for reforming and improving state institutions, in particular the law enforcement system," a statement said.

"During his tenure as interior minister, false information about the minister, members of his family, and his closest colleagues has been disseminated to discredit Arsen Avakov," it added.

In February, NABU said that a probe into the alleged embezzlement of state budget funds allocated for purchasing 6,000 backpacks by the Interior Ministry for Ukraine's armed forces fighting Russia-backed separatists in the country's east was being concluded.

With reporting by AFP and Ukrayinska Pravda