Ukraine: Kyiv Court Freezes Judge’s Spanish Apartment, Bank Account

Ukraine's new National Anti-Corruption Bureau has convinced a Kyiv court to seize the property of a Luhansk Oblast judge suspected of taking bribes.

corruption Olena Horbatenko, a judge with Severodonetsk City Court in Luhansk Oblast, sentenced two defendants in a drug-trafficking case to five years each on Oct. 23, but subsequently reduced those sentences to three years’ probation.

According to the investigation, Severodonetsk deputy prosecutor Kostyantyn Pyvovarov was promised US$ 5,000 from the defendants’ attorney, in return for not appealing the court’s decision.

Investigators say that days after the ruling, Pyvovarov handed $1,500 to Horbatenko; both were arrested the same day on suspicion of illegal enrichment. Police searched Horbatenko’s home and found that she has bought an apartment in Spain. Horbatenko also had a bank account with BANKIA S.A. in Valencia province, Spain.

On Jan. 26, Kyiv City Court moved to confiscate the judge's property and freeze her bank account. Horbatenko and Pyvovarov face up to 10 years in prison.