Opposition MP Avakov’s businesses once again targeted


Channel ATN reports that on Tuesday, Kharkiv enforcement officers travelled around “reception offices” of the Batkivshchyna MP Arsen Aavakov, trying to carry out searches.

In the morning, officers from the Department on Fighting Economic Crimes arrived at Avakov’s public reception office on Otazhar Yarosh St.  They had an order from the Kievsky District Court to carry out a search of the Expert Finance business.

Avakov and some 20 of his colleagues all stated that there was no firm of that name at the address, and no reason to carry out a search.

One of the MPs, Andriy Shevchenko had this to say:

“You know I have the impression that there are laws in Ukraine but that they don’t have any force in Kharkiv. We view what is happening today as pressure on Avakov and his team. And pressure on the opposition, on people who have the courage to issue a challenge to those engaged in lawlessness”.

The police officers then tried to search another office, presenting the court order authorizing searches of Expert Finance.  Avakov met them there and told them that they were mistaken, that since December 2012 (when he took his oath as MP), the premises had been a public reception office.

The police assert their actions are within the law and that the searches are linked with a criminal investigation of the bank Basis which is connected with Avakov.

The opposition are demanding that the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Interior Minister look into the situation with searches of the premises of Batkivshchyna MP, Arsen Avakov.

As reported, the opposition politician had a criminal case initiated against him in January 2012.  The charges are the same “abuse of power” as in the trials of Tymoshenko and Lutsenko.  He is accused of involvement in illegal privatization of 55 hectares of public land.  Both the opposition and human rights groups have expressed concern over the criminal proceedings, calling them politically motvated.

Mr Avakov was put on the Interpol wanted listed soon after the case was initiated, and was arrested in Naples in March this year. He was however released from custody pending a decision on extradition.  Unlike some other opposition figures, Avakov refused to ask for political asylum with it assumed that this was because he planned to stand for election in Ukraine. 

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