Ukrainian anticorruption investigators have launched a probe into alleged illegal enrichment by a top intelligence official whose family reportedly owns three villas worth millions of dollars.
National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) Director Artem Sytnyk told journalists in Kyiv on October 3 that the agency opened a case against Serhiy Semochko, a deputy head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine, after an investigative report aired on television that sparked public outrage.
The TV program Our Money ran a story saying that Semochko's family owns high-priced homes near Kyiv and lives a luxurious lifestyle, and that some of his relatives have dual Russian and Ukrainian citizenship.
Illegal enrichment charges can draw up to 10 years in jail.
Semochko has held top positions in the Foreign Intelligence Service since 2015, following his transfer to Kyiv from Crimea after Russia annexed the peninsula in 2014.
The TV program said his common-law wife, Tetyana Lysenko, and her daughter, Anastasia, own three villas near Kyiv, which have a total value of $8 million. The family leads a luxurious lifestyle and often uses a private helicopter, it said.
The TV reporters said they found evidence in Russian tax records and public registries that eight of Semochko's relatives have Russian citizenship.
Neither Ukraine's president, who appointed Semochko, nor the Foreign Intelligence Service itself has commented on the report.
"This is a deadly danger to hundreds of true intelligence officers and a threat to all of us," Ukrainian legislator Yegor Sobolev wrote on Facebook after the report was published on the Internet on October 1.
Western powers have urged Ukraine to tackle widespread problems with corruption and have made that a condition of granting loans to Kyiv. Ukraine was ranked 130th out of 180 countries on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index in 2017.