June 17, 2020
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Today's issue:
- New program with IMF secures anti-corruption and judicial reforms;
- Pechersk Court illegally ordered PG Venediktova to close Bakhmatyuk’s case;
- NABU and SAPO caught record-breaking $5 mln bribe;
- Serhiy Sternenko is charged with intentional murder and put under home arrest;

- recommended reading
New program with IMF secures anti-corruption and judicial reforms

On June 9, the IMF approved 8-month Stand-by Arrangement for Ukraine with total access of about US$5 billion. The focus of the program is support of Ukrainian economy during the economic crisis provoked by COVID-19. Among financial and fiscal indicators, the most important conditions include a commitment to the independence of the National Bank, support of the independent anti-corruption system and, for the first time, comprehensive judicial reform.

At the same time, the program is already under attack from oligarch forces that are resisting the cooperation between the IMF and Ukraine. On June 12, 64 MPs led by MP Tymoshenko and MP Dubinsky have appealed to Constitutional court "anti-kolomoisky law" which is key to the program. On June 17, Rada's Committee on Financial, Tax and Customs Policies has approved the draft resolution which starts the procedure of the dismissal of NBU management.
Pechersk Court illegally ordered PG Venediktova to close Bakhmatyuk’s case

Pechersk District Court ordered the Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova to cancel the decision of former Deputy Prosecutor General Vitaliy Kasko, by which he had reopened the criminal proceeding regarding embezzlement of 1.2 billion UAH from VAB Bank by the businessman Oleg Bakhmatyuk. 

NABU and SAPO caught record-breaking $5 mln bribe

Artem Sytnyk and Nazar Kholodnytskyi were offered a record $5 million bribe to drop a criminal case against ex-minister Mykola Zlochevsky, owner of Burisma holding. The perpetrators wanted to close criminal proceeding (concerning embezzling the stabilization loan from the National Bank issued to Real Bank) as a birthday present to Zlochevsky. The head legal counsel of Burisma and top tax official were charged with bribery. Сurrently, they are released on bail. 

Serhiy Sternenko is charged with intentional murder and put under home arrest
On June 11, the activist Serhiy Sternenko has been charged with intentional murder and illegal possession of a weapon after fighting off two attackers in 2018. It was the third consequent attack at him. He fought off the attackers, suffering numerous head injuries and a cut to his arm in the process. Sternenko injured one of the assailants who later died in hospital.The attacks came after Sternenko took part in protests against the destruction by the local authorities of the Summer Theatre and after he organized a series of protests against Russian cultural expansion in Odesa.

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union published an open statement on Serhiy Sternenko's case considering the criminal prosecution of the activist politically motivated.

On June 12, the court hearing determining preliminary measure started, which was decided by judge Volodymyr Buhil, who was involved in persecuting Maidan activists. Only on June 16, after numerous protractions and procedural violations, the court reached final decision putting Serhiy on full-time house arrest.

On June 15, Sternenko's supporters held protest in front of the court. Police clashed with protesters and violently attacked them, including several MPs. Police officers who have been beating protestors are not yet identified.
Recommended Reading 
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