Odesa Mayor Detained At Airport In Embezzlement Probe

The mayor of the Ukrainian Black Sea port city of Odesa, Hennadiy Trukhanov, has been detained upon arrival from abroad on suspicion of embezzlement.

Officials at Boryspil international airport told RFE/RL that Trukhanov was detained by border guards and handed over to officers of the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) after his flight arrived from Warsaw on February 14.

In a February 13 statement, NABU said that Trukhanov had been officially informed that he is a suspect in an investigation into suspected embezzlement.

It said that a deputy mayor and two Odesa City Council members were also informed that they were suspects in the case.

Trukhanov had been away from his office for 50 days. His press service said on February 14 that he had to cut short a business trip to the Czech Republic and "return to Ukraine to take part in the ongoing investigation."

It said Trukhanov would make a public comment later.

Trukhanov returned to Ukraine a day after former Odesa region Governor Mikheil Saakashvili was deported from Ukraine, whose government says he was in the country illegally after being stripped of his citizenship in 2017 by President Petro Poroshenko.

As governor, Saakashvili accused Trukhanov of corruption and pledged to bring him to justice. But he quit in 2016, accusing Poroshenko's government of undermining his efforts to fight corruption and carry out reforms.

Last autumn, NABU said it searched Trukhanov's office, his residence, and premises of the Odesa City Council.

Trukhanov said at the time that the investigators searched not his apartment but that of his ex-wife.