The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has arrested a local prosecutor and policeman in the Smila Raion region of the country, after they were discovered to have accepted bribes from an illegal gambling business.
One of the heads of the local prosecutor’s office, alongside the head of one of the branches of the National Police, had received more than UAH50,000 (£1,397/€1,509/$1,791) in bribes from the owner of an underground gambling establishment.
The pair had come to an agreement with the owner to turn a blind eye to the business, in return for a monthly ‘fee’ of UAH20,000.
The prosecutor was then detained under Article 208 of the Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine, while his policeman accomplice was arrested at work. The gambling establishment, meanwhile, was raided and shut down.
Investigations are ongoing to determine wither other people were involved in the illegal activity.
The case was investigated by the SBU’s directorate for combatting corruption and organised crime, aided by the State Bureau of Investigation and the National Police of Ukraine, under the guidance of the Prosecutor General’s Office.
It comes as Ukraine prepares to re-regulate gambling, legalising an industry that was outlawed in 2009.
Under legislation signed into law by President Volodymyr Zelensky last month, land-based casinos and online gambling will both be permitted, though separate legislation to determine the tax rate for each vertical and channel is yet to be passed.
However, until this is implemented the SBU will continue to prosecute those running illegal gambling operations. This extends to online, where it has ordered local internet service providers to block multiple operator domains.