Top Kyiv judge sentenced to 10 years in prison after conviction for 2016 bribery scheme

Ukraine's High Anti-Corruption Court (HACC) found former judge Mykola Chaus, of Kyiv's Dniprovsky District Court, guilty of bribery. He has been setenced to ten years in prison with confiscation of property, according to the Kyiv Post

The verdict was reportedly announced during a meeting with the HACC panel of judges. The court also ruled that Chaus would be barred from holding judicial positions for three years. The decision comes after Chaus was convicted of taking bribes and reportedly kept them in pickle jars in his wife’s garden and in his car, per Politico.

The Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) stated: “The court upheld the position of the SAPO prosecutor and found the person guilty of committing a crime under Part 4 of Article 368 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Acceptance of an offer, promise or receipt of an unlawful benefit by an official, combined with extortion)."

“The verdict can be challenged in an appeal procedure within 30 days from the day of its announcement by submitting an appeal to the Appeals Chamber of the VACS."

"The good news is that Ukraine caught their highest judge hiding some of his more than $2 million in bribes in pickle jars," Senator Rand Paul said. "The bad news is that Ukraine, consistently ranked as one of the most corrupt nations on the planet, still has high-ranking officials robbing it blind."

"This might be a salient point when Ukraine returns to Congress to beg for more US taxpayer funds. Why won’t Democrats accept my call for a Special Inspector General to oversee the billions we send to Ukraine?"

The report also mentions that Chaus ruled over several political proceedings in favor of former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Chaus was finally caught for bribery in 2016, but he pleaded not guilty to demanding bribes from a couple in exchange for a lighter sentence for the wife’s mother. Though parliament had approved his arrest, he used judicial immunity and fled to Moldova.

Ukraine had apparently requested Chaus’ extradition from Moldova in 2017, but it took four years to track down the judge, as he shifted between numerous apartments within the country.

In April 2021, unknown kidnappers appeared to snatch Chaus, with his lawyer saying that “a Ukrainian judge was snatched by a group of armed men and taken into an unknown direction.”

The Ukrainian authorities caught up to Chaus in July 2021, when he arrived at a village council in the Vinnytsia region of western Ukraine wearing nothing but shorts. He claimed that he had escaped the kidnappers and wished to call the SBU, Ukraine’s security service, per the report.

The authorities in Moldova suspected Ukrainian special services of being behind the alleged kidnapping. Ukraine said that they wished to bring the judge in legally.

Moldova reportedly opened a criminal investigation into the allegations of kidnapping, suggesting that Ukrainian citizens were behind the act. Chaus was allegedly missing for two months.

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