During a news conference on 7 February, NABU Director Artem Sytnik, who is listed in the Register of Corrupt Officials of the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NAZK), stated that the High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine had issued a decision authorising Oleg Bakhmatyuk’s arrest for the purpose of seeking an international arrest warrant against him through Interpol, and that the Bureau was preparing documents to support such a request.
As a private individual, Artem Sytnik is certainly free to make any statements whether or not he has a sufficient legal basis to do so as a public official. Therefore, it should be pointed out that:
- Last year Oleg Balhmatyuk’s lawyers disclosed his whereabouts and reported his actual address. The Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine in effect and applicable international treaties provide a clear guidance on the conduct of investigative actions, service of process and extradition in relation persons staying outside Ukraine. Despite formal statements made Oleg Bakhmatyuk and his counsels announcing his whereabouts, Sytnik has claimed that he does not know where Oleg Bakhmatyuk is, which is absurd and patently untrue.
- Knowing Oleg Bakhmatyuk’s whereabouts, Artem Sytnik has plenty of opportunity to conduct any investigative actions. That, however, is not being done. It is quite remarkable that the other key suspect in the case, the former First Deputy Governor Oleksandr Pysaruk has stated that over the past three months he has not been summoned for an interrogation a single time.
- For three months, Artem Sytnik was flagrantly violating the Constitution and human rights while acting in the spirit of Stalin’s traditions when he refused to recognise Bakhmatyuk’s lawyers and imposed government counsels on him, despite the fact that he knew full well that Oleg Bakhmatyuk had formally filed documents with NABU certifying their credentials to represent him as defence counsels.
- Defence counsels have been allowed access to the case file once every three weeks for 45 minutes. They have been finding out about new developments in the case from NABU’s press statements rather than from formal notices as the law requires, which turns the whole thing into some of sort of media campaign pursued by NABU rather than a legitimate pretrial investigation.
- Artem Sytnik himself has a direct conflict of interest in relation to the case, he has a clear motive to seek personal vengeance against Oleg Bakhmatyuk. Artem Sytnik has been formally found guilty of corruption by courts of two instances and has been officially listed as a corrupt official by the NACP (aka NAZK). A key witness who testified Sytnik’s corruption case was a person serving as aide to Oleg Bakhmatyuk’s sister.
"I disclosed to NABU my whereabouts in Austria back in November, my address is registered and formally certifiable. There are no grounds whatsoever for arresting me or putting me on the wanted list. And as regards the court order, all I can do is quote Sytnik’s own words to himself spoken on 03 February about his own conviction to Member of Parliament Anton Polyakov ‘the court is weak and issues rulings under pressure’, stated Oleg Bakhmatyuk.
In view of the above, we feel compelled to state that NABU is pursuing media provocations and engages in persecution in breach of criminal procedure, while NABU Director Artem Sytnik is trying to set off another bombshell in the media environment while pursuing personal vengeance. This fake bombshell has nothing to do with the Bureau’s stated mission of fighting corruption. Artem Sytnik’s personal vendetta is holding hostage the 27 thousand Ukrainians who work for Oleg Bakhmatyuk’s company, a company that contributes up to UAH 3 billion in taxes and generates nearly 1 % of Ukraine’s GDP.
Press Service of