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Ukraine prosecutor investigated for ties to illicit gambling

Former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko is under investigation for his alleged ties to illicit gambling operations in the country. It’s an unwanted bit of attention for a man whose name is at the center of the political scandal that’s rocking the United States of America and could, potentially, bring down the President of the United States Donald Trump.

Details of the investigation are pretty sparse at this point but here’s what’s been reported so far. According to the Ukrainian news service The Kyiv Post, The State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) is investigating allegations of abuse of power by Lutsenko in association with some sort of illegal gambling operation. (Gambling has been illegal in Ukraine since 2009.) The investigation was launched at the behest of head of the parliamentary faction Servant of the People David Arakhamia.

The SBI issued a short statement on the matter saying, “According to Arakhamia’s statement, criminal proceedings have been opened over the possible abuse of power or official position by former Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko.”

Lutsenko was fired from his position as Prosecutor General in 2010 at the urging of an international group of stakeholders supporting the country’s new government after it appeared he was not going to be part of the country’s efforts to clean up government corruption. The man who represented the groups, which included the World Bank and a host of European governments, was then Vice-President of the United States, Joe Biden. Current US President Donald Trump alleges, without evidence of any kind, that Biden urged Lutsenko’s firing because he was investigating Biden’s son and his connections to a Ukrainian natural gas company. (Those allegations have proven to be inaccurate.)

There’s little doubt that Lutsenko is not happy to be under another spotlight and it will be interesting to see where this story leads.