Ukrainian Ex-Prosecutor Ryaboshapka Under Investigation

By RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service

KYIV -- Former Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Ruslan Ryaboshapka, who was forced out in a parliamentary vote of no confidence two months ago, is now under investigation.

Ukraine's Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office told RFE/RL on May 6 that it had opened "criminal proceedings" against Ryaboshapka for what the Criminal Code describes as "declaring...false information" and "accepting an offer, promise, or obtaining an illicit benefit from an official."

"We have complied with a court decision and filed a case [against Ryaboshapka] at the Unified Register of Pretrial Investigations on Prior Legal Qualification under Articles 366-1 and Part 4 of Article 368 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine," the office's representatives said.

Ryaboshapka told RFE/RL that the case against him was "pointless from the point of view of criminal law."

"I have already dozens of times explained this and had thought that it had been forgotten," he said. "This announcement by a prosecutor whom I fired and who is apparently offended by me concerns a fact that has been covered many times in the media."

The case apparently involves a house in France where Ryaboshapka's wife and children live. Ryaboshabka has said his wife took out a commercial loan to purchase the nearly 500,000-euro ($540,500) property, which he said they continue to pay.

"This situation is being manipulated," he told Ukraine's website in February, "because we still owe around 400,000 euros [$432,400] on this loan. We continue to pay it off monthly."

Ryaboshapka was well-regarded by anti-corruption activists for his efforts to streamline and professionalize the scandal-ridden Prosecutor-General’s Office.

The 43-year-old Ryaboshapka made headlines last year as one of the officials to decide whether to launch a probe into former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter over the younger Biden's role at energy firm Burisma Holdings. The case was entangled in the impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Ryaboshapka served as prosecutor-general from August 29, 2019, until March 5.