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Servant of the People MP cooperates with investigation and acknowledges attempts to bribe police

Wednesday, 22 February 2023, 13:57
Servant of the People MP cooperates with investigation and acknowledges attempts to bribe police

Oleksandr Trukhin, a member of the Servant of the People party, has agreed to a deal with the investigation and pleaded guilty to offering a bribe to a police officer.

Source: hearing at the High Anti-Corruption Court

Quote from the Prosecutor: "I want to inform the court and other participants in the court session that a plea agreement signed between me... and the accused, [Oleksandr] Trukhin... has been submitted.

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We agreed that this agreement would indeed be in the public interest, taking into account the fact that Trukhin, as an MP, did not run away during the war and did not take any anti-Ukrainian measures, but on the contrary, has taken a pro-Ukrainian position. He has provided a lot of documents showing that he took part in events at the international level."

Quote from Trukhin: "I'd like to say thank you to the team from the NABU [National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine] for taking the appropriate and correct stance without abusing their power. I assume they are just as correct when dealing with other cases. The team from the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office did their job in a very professional manner…

I realise that no one should give either the court or the Prosecutor's Office too much of a headache with explanations, extra hearings, wasting taxpayers’ money and their own time… if someone has done something wrong, it's best to reach a consensus and seek solutions that are right and fair…

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I understand I did something foolish, and I was wrong. I'm prepared to pay the penalty for that."

Details: Trukhin and the Specialised Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office signed an agreement on 17 February 2023, according to which the MP is obliged to pay UAH 6 million [equiv. US$163,303] in support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine within one month, specifically to the United24 and Drone Army initiatives. According to the prosecutor, in this way the MP will prove his remorse.

Trukhin must also pay a fine of UAH 68,000 [equiv. US$1,850]. This is the maximum fine stipulated in the article [of the Criminal Code] under which he has been charged.

The UAH 49,600 [US$1,349] bail which the MP paid during the investigation will also be transferred to the Armed Forces.

The agreement with the investigation must be approved by the court if it decides that the deal between the MP and the Prosecutor's Office is in the public interest.

During the conclusion of the agreement, Trukhin said that he tried to bribe a police officer to leave the scene of an accident as soon as possible. The prosecutor emphasised that this agreement in no way concerns the MP's role in the accident itself.

This, according to the prosecution, means that Trukhin's crime was not so dangerous as to warrant a more severe punishment than a fine. The choice of sanction was also influenced by the fact that Trukhin has two children and incentives from state authorities.

If the court approves the agreement with the investigation, then, after the sentence takes effect, Trukhin will lose his mandate in the Parliament.

In court, Trukhin confirmed that following a road accident in 2021, he offered the police "150,000 somethings" [in the original phrase, the MP said "candy, chocolate, cookies" – UP]. The lawmaker did not wish to recount the events of that day himself, explaining that he felt uncomfortable doing so.

Trukhin was unable to say in which currency he had offered the bribe. He also claimed that he had no money on him at the time, and his words were "more emotional and not even completely reasonable".

Update at 16:26: The court has approved the plea deal and found Trukhin guilty of the crime. 

The MP can only appeal this verdict if his agreement was involuntary. During the hearing, he confirmed that he agreed to all the terms.

The sentence will come into force after the deadline for filing an appeal has passed.

Background: 

  • On 23 August 2021, Oleksandr Trukhin was involved in a road accident. According to media reports, Trukhin was drunk and caused an accident on the road from Poltava to Kyiv. A week after the event, the politician stated that he had not been driving and would be cooperating with the police in drawing up reports.
  • On 1 February 2022, Ukrainska Pravda published a video investigation into the accident Trukhin was involved in. Video from a police officer's body-worn camera, which was published by UP, shows that Trukhin was keen to leave the scene of the accident and assured the law enforcement officer that he could sort the issue out with  Denys Monastyrskyi, then head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Later, the MP offered the police officer "a bonus 150,000" that he had in the car for the law enforcement officers to help him escape from the scene of the accident and register him as a passenger.
  • The State Bureau of Investigation stated that it did not have the video published by Ukrainska Pravda at its disposal. Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova opened new criminal proceedings after the investigation was published.
  • On 2 February, Trukhin was expelled from the Servant of the People party. Trukhin told reporters that he was ready to step down as an MP if "the party forced him to do so".
  • At the end of August, the court issued a UAH 850 fine to a man who was travelling in the car with Trukhin, who also took responsibility for the accident.

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