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Donetsk separatists arrest "energy minister"

He was reportedly an obstacle to Oleksandr Zakharchenko's coal schemes.

Twenty-two employees of the so-called coal and energy ministry of the self-proclaimed separatist Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) have been detained on suspicion of "embezzling of over 100m roubles", according to the press service of the so-called DPR interior ministry.

"It was established that for purposes of personal enrichment, DPR coal and energy minister Eduard Holenko created an organized criminal group whose participants pretended that they supplied commodities and delivered services while they were embezzling funds of state-owned companies managed by the DPR coal and energy ministry," the statement reads,

It was pro-Russian propagandist Kostyantyn Dolhov, who felt insulted by the DPR, who on 22 February broke the news about Holenko's arrest.

"No-one will tell you this. At 4 a.m. this morning, Dykyy's (DPR interior minister) people arrested DPR coal and energy minister Eduard Holenko. His arrest was authorized by DPR leader Zakharchenko and his 'wallet', deputy prime minister for economy Tymofeyev (aka Tashkent)," Dolhov said.

According to his information, Holenko allegedly offered to set up a "state enterprise" to sell coal to customers without intermediaries.

"This ran against Zakharchenko's and Tymofeyev's plans because the latter created an intermediary structure – the Coal of Donbas trade house – specifically in order to pocket the markup on coal for the ruling tandem. Zakharchenko and Tymofeyev want to replace Holenko with their own man, (Ihor – Ed.) Sosnovskyy. The juicy bit here is that a criminal case was opened against Sosnovskyy in Russia," Dolhov said.

Ihor Sosnovskyy is a former adviser to Ukraine's ex-Prime Minister Mykola Azarov. According to Russian media, Sosnovskyy runs a coal business in eastern Ukraine and had contacts with late Oplot gang boss Yevhen Zhylin.

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