Ukrainian activist faces corruption probe as reforms row festers - Reuters

13:20, 29 December 2016
Economy
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A young activist who became prominent in Ukraine's 2014 uprising and was later appointed to work on a major project to reform the corruption-plagued customs of Odesa is herself being investigated for corruption, reads an exclusive report by Reuters.

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Roman Nasirov, the head of Ukraine's Fiscal Service, which is spearheading the probe, told Reuters that he suspected 27-year-old Yulia Marushevska, who resigned last month, of undervaluing cargo and other violations that he didn't specify.

He did not say whether other people besides Marushevska were being investigated.

As evidence, Nasirov told Reuters that, in the weeks since Marushevska stepped down on Nov 14, the Odesa region had increased its customs revenues by 30%, or UAH 300 million ($11 million).

He did not specify whether he was personally leading the investigation into Marushevska's actions. Reuters could not independently verify the figure and has no independent evidence of Marushevska's wrongdoing.

Nasirov's office did provide official data for customs revenues between January and October, which showed that Odessa had not met its revenue target for seven out of the 10 months in 2016.

Marushevska's office has previously said that weaker revenues were due to the fact that some corrupt businesses avoided Odessa because of the reforms she had brought, thereby bringing in less revenue.

Read alsoPM Groysman announces ambitious customs reform from Jan 1In a separate interview with Reuters, Marushevska denied all wrongdoing and blamed Nasirov himself for derailing her efforts to rid Odessa port and other nearby ports of endemic corruption.

She says she clamped down on the practice of goods being deliberately undervalued and accused Nasirov of shielding corrupt officers.

She called Nasirov a guard dog for a corrupt system.

Read alsoUkraine's chief taxman declares $1.16 mln, EUR 450,000 in cash for 2015"(The investigation) doesn't make any sense," she said. "It just demonstrates that this system isn't ready to change."

Nasirov denied her accusations as "hollow".

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