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Ukraine's Ex-Economy Minister Sharing Evidence With Anticorruption Investigators

Aivaras Abromavicius

Former Ukrainian Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius says he is providing anticorruption investigators evidence of influence peddling involving key government officials and state companies.

Abromavicius made the comments on February 8 ahead of his expected testimony to Ukraine's top antigraft investigation agency and just days after his resignation brought the government to the brink of collapse.

The Lithuanian-born Abromavicius was one of several foreign-born officials brought in by President Petro Poroshenko as part of efforts to clean up endemic government corruption.

But the push to improve transparency and eliminate problems like bribery, kickbacks, and preferential hiring for wealthy insiders has proceeded at a glacial pace, resulting in growing frustration both inside Ukraine and among Western officials and lenders.

In his February 3 resignation letter, Abromavicius singled out Ihor Kononenko, a wealthy tycoon who is a member of Poroshenko's political party, saying he had lobbied to get his people appointed to head state companies and to top government positions.

Kononenko rejected the allegations as "completely absurd."

Abromavicius told reporters in Kyiv that he had collected ample information that he intended to share with the National Anticorruption Bureau.

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