A Ukrainian prosecutor has finalized charges against Oleksandr Chernov, a whistleblower in the Slava Ukraini corruption investigation, and sent his case to court. Fingerprints on grenades are the main piece of evidence against Chernov who denies having owned illegal weapons, Postimees reported.
Chernov was charged based on sections of the Ukrainian criminal code treating with illegal handling of firearms, munitions or explosives for which a punishment of 3-7 years in prison is prescribed," the daily reported.
"You are mistaken if you believe we are out to get Chernov. We are merely working with facts," said Dmytro Ocheretainy, state prosecutor for the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.
Chernov maintains he has no idea how his fingerprints ended up on munitions and explosives found in his car.
The man, who reported the misuse of donations made to Estonian NGO Slava Ukraini and its Ukrainian partner All for Victory, is being kept under house arrest in Ukraine. The charges against him popped up unexpectedly just before he planned to travel to Estonia.
The Riigikogu Anti-Corruption Select Committee in May asked the government to help Chernov, as the person who reported potential violations at Slava Ukraini, to come to Estonia and ensure his safety should it prove necessary.
It became evident in April that Ukrainian aid organization NGO Slava Ukraini had transferred €1.5 million in donations from Estonians to its Ukrainian partner IC Construction, which likely had a fictitious owner and the only business activity of which was connected to the Estonian nonprofit. The Ukrainian firm posted a profit of €250,000 last year.
Slava Ukraini executive manager Johanna-Maria Lehtme received a lot of recognition in Estonia for her actions last year and was elected to the Riigikogu in the ranks of the Eesti 200 party in March. By now, Slava Ukraini has removed Lehtme from the board.
Editor: Marcus Turovski