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Top Ukrainian Judge's Home Searched Amid Standoff With President

Judge Oleksandr Tupytskiy attends a Constitutional Court session in Kyiv in June 2020.
Judge Oleksandr Tupytskiy attends a Constitutional Court session in Kyiv in June 2020.

Ukrainian investigators have searched the house of Oleksandr Tupytskiy, the former chairman of the Constitutional Court, amid a battle with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy over control of the country's highest court.

The State Investigation Bureau carried out the search early on May 13 after Tupytskiy failed to show up for a bail hearing for the fifth time, citing health reasons, Ukrainian media reported.

Zelenskiy suspended Tupytskiy in December and fired him in March after the Prosecutor-General's Office charged him with trying to bribe a witness into giving false testimony. Tupytskiy denies the charges.

The pressure on Tupytskiy followed on the heels of a decision by the Constitutional Court in October 2020 to dismantle most of the anti-corruption legislation passed since the overthrow of Kremlin-leaning President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.

Tupytskiy was appointed by Yanukovych to a lifetime tenure on the court.

The Constitutional Court's ruling angered Ukraine's Western backers, who have provided tens of billions of dollars in critical funding to Kyiv on the condition it implement tough anti-corruption reforms.

The case to dismantle the anti-graft infrastructure was brought before Tuptyskiy and the court by lawmakers from the Opposition Platform -- For Life, an influential Russian-leaning party.

The party's most prominent official, Viktor Medvedchuk, made his first appearance in a Kyiv court later that day in a separate case on charges of treason.

Tupytskiy ignored his March dismissal by Zelenskiy, considering it unconstitutional, but security guards have refused to let him into the court building. Judges can be dismissed for bad behavior.

The Constitutional Court is now effectively chaired by Tupytskiy's deputy, Serhiy Holovaty, who is seen as more loyal to Zelenskiy.

Tupytskiy told reporters his wife's car and his mother-in-law's summer home were also searched on May 13, but said that nothing had been taken. He called the search unlawful.

With reporting by the Kyiv Post
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