Anticorruption activist faces criminal investigations for military service evasion and forgery

Vitalii Shabunin, Head of the AntAC
Vitalii Shabunin, Head of the AntAC

Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) has initiated two criminal proceedings against Vitaliy Shabunin, the head of the Anticorruption Action Centre (AntAC), based on allegations of document forgery and military service evasion, the Ukrainian journalist Volodymyr Boiko said on Facebook on March 7.

Cases were filed against Shabunin under Part 4 of Art. 409 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (evasion of military service) and Part 1 of Art. 358 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (forgery of an official document), Boiko said.

The second case pertains to Shabunin allegedly submitting letters to the military unit where he was registered, bearing the signatures of the head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Oleksandr Novikov, and deputy head of NABU, Artem Sytnyk. These letters requested the transfer of soldier Shabunin to NABU.

However, after the situation became public, NABU leadership officially claimed that they never issued such letters and accused Shabunin of writing them himself, Boiko said.

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“I think that the NABU leadership is lying and these letters are real,” the journalist said.

“However, this does not impact the assessment of the military unit commander’s actions, who, having illegally assigned Shabunin to NABU, paid him 53 thousand hryvnias ($1.4 thousand) every month — 23 thousand hryvnias ($602) of monetary allowance and 30 thousand hryvnias ($786) of additional remuneration for, allegedly, performing combat missions. These tasks, as far as I understand, involved soldier Shabunin removing empty bottles from Sytnyk’s office.”

Shabunin confirmed the initiation of two criminal proceedings against him in a comment to NV.

The SBI was directed in December by an investigating judge of Kyiv’s Shevchenkivskyi District Court to register a statement regarding the alleged offenses committed by Shabunin.

The request for an investigation came from Rostyslav Kravets, the head of the NGO Public Integrity Council. The appeal aimed to verify claims that Shabunin was enlisted in the military unit’s personnel but did not fulfill military service duties, and forged documents for a business trip.

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