Ukraine: Officers Take Ex-MP and Fraud Suspect off UK-Bound Plane

Published: 22 January 2020

Bracelet électroniqueMykytas was removed from the plane and taken to the police station, where officers installed an electronic bracelet on him. (Photo: Jérémy-Günther-Heinz Jähnick / Bracelet électronique / Wikimedia Commons)

By Laura Mallene

Authorities removed a former member of Ukraine’s parliament from a London-bound flight that was about to take off, suspecting he was about to flee from prosecution after having been charged with land plot fraud, the Kyiv Post reported on Monday.

The plane was about to start rolling down the tarmac of the Kyiv International airport when detectives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, NACB, entered the aircraft and approached the seat of Maksym Mykytas.

After having successfully passed passport control and boarded the plane, the trip was over for the former MP who was arrested last summer and released on bail.

Mykytas was taken to the police station, where officers took away his passport and installed an electronic bracelet on him. 

 According to the Ukrainian law, Mykytas was not supposed to have a passport while on bail but his lawyer, Oleksandr Lysak, told Ukrainian News that the NACB and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office had allowed him to spend four days in the UK for personal reasons and called the incident “absurd.”

The Ukrainian News Agency published a letter from the prosecutor’s office, saying Mykytas was allowed to travel to the UK from Monday until Friday. However, NACB sources told the agency that he was not allowed to travel.  

Mykytas and his allies are suspected of having made UAH 82 million (US$ 3.4 million) from an apparently irregular real estate deal.

His two co-defendants were arrested in May last year while Mykytas’s immunity as MP saved him temporarily. He was arrested in July after he lost his seat in elections.

Mykytas was released after his friends paid a UAH 5.5 million ($230,000) bail.