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Ukraine's Anticorruption Bureau Says Raids Odesa Mayor's Home, Office

NABU agents are seen outside the mayor's residence on October 23.
NABU agents are seen outside the mayor's residence on October 23.

Ukrainian anticorruption investigators have raided the home and office of the mayor of the Black Sea port of Odesa, who is at the center of an embezzlement probe.

The National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) said the searches were conducted on October 23 at the premises of Odesa Mayor Hennadiy Trukhanov and his associates.

Odesa authorities are suspected of embezzling funds from contracts assigned for repairing a highway and approving loans meant to help refurbish the local airport but which vanished.

"Since detectives are also checking the possibility of the Odesa mayor's involvement in these criminal offenses, the searches are being held at his home and office," NABU said in a statement.

In comments to RFE/RL, Trukhanov confirmed that his office was searched by NABU agents. However, he denied that his home was also raided.

The raids came nearly a week after the start of the first sustained wave of antigovernment protests in Kyiv since Ukraine's 2014 pro-EU revolution brought down the Russia-backed regime of Viktor Yanukovych.

The anticorruption rallies are currently being spearheaded by Mikheil Saakashvili -- a former Georgian president who became regional governor of Odesa in February 2015.

Saakashvili accused Trukhanov of being one of Odesa's corruption bosses and pledged to bring him to justice, but eventually became frustrated about his inability to tackle bribery and resigned last year.

Saakashvili went on to accuse President Petro Poroshenko of knowing about the criminal activities in Odesa but failing to act in order to protect his political friends.

Poroshenko dismisses the charge and accuses Saakashvili of trying to further destabilize Ukraine.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service and AFP
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