April 7, 2021
The Kyiv Post reported, “Law enforcement searched a Kyiv apartment full of bundles of cash, antiques and documents allegedly belonging to the notorious Judge Pavlo Vovk on April 6.
The detectives confiscated around $5 million USD, including $3.7 million USD, 840,000 euros, 20,000 pounds, 230,000 hryvnias, and 100 Israeli shekels, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) said on April 7 commenting on the search.
Apart from cash, there were antiques in the apartment. One of the pieces resembles an Aladdin’s lamp. The documents found in the apartment belong to Vovk and his relative, according to NABU.
Vovk, who is charged with abuse of office, denied any wrongdoing. He didn’t comment on whether the possessions found on April 6 belonged to him. NABU located the apartment surveilling Yuriy Zontov, a brother of Vovk and an intelligence official.
Zontov and an unknown lawyer were arrested on April 6 when they were getting a $100,000 bribe, allegedly for a favorable decision by the Kyiv District Administrative Court.
NABU has not yet officially disclosed their names. Investigators believe that the apartment they discovered served as storage for Vovk’s bribes, a source close to the investigation told the Kyiv Post. They also believe Zontov was an intermediary and was supposed to give the money to Vovk.
Zontov serves as the deputy head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine. After the incident, he was suspended. On the day of Zontov’s arrest, NABU also searched the Kyiv District Administrative Court, which is headed by Vovk.
In July 2020, Vovk and the Kyiv District Administrative Court’s other judges were charged in a separate case with organized crime, abuse of power, bribery and unlawful interference with government officials. Vovk denies the accusations.
Vovk is seen by civil society as the epitome of judicial corruption and impunity in Ukraine. The country’s law enforcement system, including judges and prosecutors, has consistently blocked the Vovk case.”