Sixty-two days after being sworn in, Ukraine’s new parliament on October 31 voted in a lengthy procedure to arrest one of its own members on suspicion of masterminding a million-dollar embezzlement scheme.
Yaroslav Dubnevych, a member of the Za Maybutnye (For the Future) group of lawmakers that political analysts say is affiliated with billionaire Ihor Kolomoyskiy, is suspected of siphoning $3.75 million from the state-run railway company Ukrzaliznytsya.
Specifically, Dubnevych allegedly lobbied to have money allocated from the railway company to firms that he controls for procurement orders that led to financial losses at Ukrzaliznytsya.
While filing a note in parliament to prosecute the lawmaker, Prosecutor-General Ruslan Ryaboshapka said there was enough evidence to prove Dubnevych's guilt.
Dubnevych said the allegations lacked evidence and that the case smacked of political populism.
A majority of lawmakers then voted to strip him of his prosecutorial immunity, to detain, and then arrest him.
Ryaboshapka assured parliament prior to voting that he would not arrest Dubnevych in the legislative chamber.
A bail hearing is scheduled for November 1 at the High Anti-Corruption Court. Prosecutors will ask to keep him either in custody or that bail be set at $3.75 million.
If found guilty, Dubnevych could receive a prison sentence of seven to 12 years for “misappropriation, embezzlement of property, or seizure of property by abuse of office.”
He is a three-term lawmaker and in 2014 became a member of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc in parliament, named after the former president.