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Prosecutors bust Kharkiv honchos

Kharkiv leaders are suspected of theft of municipal land worth 4bn hryvnya.

In Kharkiv, law enforcers are searching the premises belonging to Mayor Henadiy Kernes and the mother of MP Mykhailo Dobkin, Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko said 15 September as quoted by his press secretary Larisa Sarhan.

A hundred prosecutors and SBU officers went to Kharkiv to take part in dozens of searches that are planned to be conducted, Lutsenko says.

The searches are within a criminal case on the organization of a scheme of embezzlement of 654 ha of land estimatedly worth 4bn hryvnya.

"We have started searches in the National hotel, which is the residence of Mayor Kernes himself. Also, we came to search the house, which belongs to Dobkin's mother, but he came and showed his residence permit. Under the law the housing of a people's deputy is untouchable. Another suspect in the criminal case has rendered resistance so we had to call in special task force Alfa," Lutsenko said.

MP Anton Herashchenko confirmed on the TV Channel 112 Ukraine that the searches are in the case of allocation of land dummy parties by the city hall.

"For years, legislation has been in effect in Ukraine, according to which land has to be allocated through auctions. However, authorities would find loopholes to bypass the procedure. They have allocated over 600 hectares of Kharkiv land to all kinds of straw people. After that, this land made its way to the secondary market," Herashchenko said.

Henadiy Kernes is a defendant in the case of the abduction and beating of Maidan activists. The case is in progress in a Poltava court.