Jun 14, 2020 - World

Ukraine seizes $5 million bribe related to Burisma founder

Burisma founder  Mykola Zlochevsky.

Mykola Zlochevsky, founder of the Burisma Holdings. Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Ukrainian law enforcement officials announced on Saturday that they were offered $5 million in bribes to end a probe into Mykola Zlochevsky, the founder of energy company Burisma, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Nazar Kholodnytsky, the head of Ukraine’s national anti-corruption bureau, stressed that the bribe had no connection to former Burisma board member Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.

  • “Let’s put an end to this once and for all. Biden Jr. and Biden Sr. do not appear in this particular proceeding,” Kholodnytsky said, according to Reuters.

Details: The case related to Zlochevsky involved allegations of bank fraud. Three people have been detained over the alleged bribe, including one current and former tax official.

  • About $5 million was allegedly offered to anti-corruption officials, while another $1 million was intended for an official acting as a middleman.
  • Officials displayed plastic bags filled with the cash during Saturday's press conference. It was the largest cash bribe ever seized in Ukraine.
  • Burisma said in a statement that it had nothing to do with the bribe.

The big picture: Burisma gained worldwide notoriety during the 2019 impeachment inquiry into President Trump over allegations he attempted to pressure the Ukrainian government into opening an investigation into Hunter Biden to damage Joe Biden before the November presidential election.

  • The former top prosecutor in Ukraine launched an audit of thousands of old case files and told Reuters earlier this month that there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Hunter Biden.
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