Ukranian Security Services (SBU) arrested officials in the Smila region of the country for alleged corruption related to illegal gambling. A local prosecutor and a high rank policeman were detained after being discovered to have accepted bribes.
Head of Police and High Rank Local Prosecutor
The head of one of the branches of the National Police in the region, as well as one of the heads of the local prosecutor’s office have been arrested by the SBU for receiving the equivalent of more than €1,500 in local currency from the owner of an underground gambling establishment. The payment was related to a monthly fee the businessman agreed to pay to the high ranking officials, who in exchange, promised to turn a blind eye.
The police chief was arrested at his workplace as an accomplice to the prosecutor who was detained under Article 208 of the country’s Criminal Procedure Code. The illegal gambling establishment was raided and shut down and investigators are currently looking into other possible accomplices in the illegal activity.
The directorate for combatting corruption and organized crime within the SBU, the State Bureau of Investigation and the National Police of Ukraine worked in collaboration on the case, under the guidance of the Office of the General Prosecutor. The arrest shows the determination of Ukraine authority to enforce a new regulation in the sector and legalize the industry which was outlawed in 2009, while tackling all illegal operations.
Ukraine Passed Law to Legalize Gambling
Under the new legislation which was approved by the President last month the country will allow land-based gaming establishments such as casinos, as well as online gaming, albeit the two gaming verticals will be charged different tax rates the legislation for which is still to be approved.
In June, the Parliament of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada, passed Bill 2285-D to approve casinos and sports books, with the prerequisite for casinos to be located within hotels. The bill that was initially introduced in 2019 also stated licensing fees for gambling operators, and online gambling will have a €1million for a five-year license fee, while sports books will have to pay €2.28 million.
The bill also introduced certain restrictions for business owners within the sector, setting a ban on residents from countries which are considered aggressive towards the country. However, until the signed into law legislation is implemented, authorities are adamant to tackle and prosecute all forms of illegal gambling, including iGaming, as they recently ordered locals internet service providers (ISPs) to block multiple domains of offshore operators.