In Ukraine, the highest anti-corruption court has ordered agriculture minister Mykola Solskyj to be remanded in custody on suspicion of illegally appropriating state-owned land worth millions. The preventive measure is initially scheduled to last until June 24, media in Kiev reported, citing the court.

It was said that there was a possibility that Solskyj would be released on bail. The minister had previously tendered his resignation but continued to deny any guilt.

Parliament Speaker Ruslan Stefantschuk published the handwritten resignation request on Facebook. Parliament will soon decide on the dismissal, Stefantschuk wrote.

Before the term

Investigators from the National Anti-Corruption Office handed Solskyj a suspicious activity report on Tuesday. Before his term in office between 2017 and 2021, the minister is said to have brought a total of 1,250 properties with a total area of ​​almost 2,500 hectares into the possession of his agricultural holding company. According to investigators, the value was 291 million hryvnia (6.8 million euros). According to their own statements, the law enforcement authorities also thwarted the attempt, which was said to have involved additional properties worth 190 million hryvnia (4.45 million).

The minister denies the allegations. “There was no corruption. Nobody took money,” Solskyj wrote in a statement carried by public television. In addition, none of the suspects signed over property to themselves or relatives. The lawyer had previously admitted that during his time as a lawyer in 2017, he had represented several private individuals in land disputes against state-owned companies in the Sumy region in question.

Solskyj came to the Supreme Rada on the presidential party’s list in the early parliamentary elections initiated by President Volodymyr Zelensky in 2019. He chaired the Agriculture Committee from 2019 until his appointment as Agriculture Minister in March 2022.