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Key judge faces $12 mln corruption probe
Journal Staff Report

KIEV, April 16 ?? Susanna Stanik, a judge of the Constitutional Court, is under corruption investigation after her close relative has apparently received $12 million worth of property and real estate as a gift over the past two years.

Stanik is a key figure in hearings that are scheduled to start on Tuesday at the Constitutional Court on the legality of President Viktor Yushchenko??s decree to dismiss Parliament.

Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, the acting chief of SBU, the security service, said Monday that agents had confirmed preliminary information that the property and the real estate had been transferred to Stanik??s relative.

The name of the relative wasn??t disclosed, but Ukrayinska Pravda cited a source at the agency that it was Stanik??s 74-year old mother who had received massive property and luxury apartments in Kiev, Lviv and Yalta.

???We would like to get an explanation from the judge on how the property and real estate worth $12 million has been transferred to the relative,??? Nalyvaychenko said at a press conference.

In a prepared statement, Stanik denied any wrongdoing and called the allegations ???untrue.???

Stanik is a key figure in the hearings that will be making a report on the case and that was supposed to become an important element of trying to settle the escalating political crisis in Ukraine.

Opposition lawmakers have long suspected some judges of the court may appear to be biased due to alleged corruption. The comment from the top law enforcement official is the first indication that the allegations may appear to be true.

The development may further undermine confidence in the ruling by the Constitutional Court and would complicate the settlement of the sharp political crisis in Ukraine.

A media report citing undisclosed sources last week alleged that Stanik on March 28 had received two apartments in downtown Kiev as a gift worth a total of $2 million.

The report was followed by the publication of a transcript of a tape recording of a controversial phone conversation between Stanik and Olena Lukash, a legal adviser to Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

Although Stanik immediately dismissed the media reports as an attempt to discredit her, she had later cancelled a scheduled press conference and had been hospitalized to an elite hospital near Kiev over the weekend.

In the statement on Monday, Stanik said the president now may seek to fire her.

???I suppose that a presidential decree has been prepared and may have been even signed now to dismiss me,??? Stanik said, suggesting that she may appeal the dismissal in courts.

Stanik, a former justice minister, was nominated to the Constitutional Court by then-President Leonid Kuchma. (tl/ez)




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