October 25, 2017 / 1:45 PM / a year ago

Ukraine to probe MP's three national lottery victories

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine’s anti-corruption agency said on Wednesday it would investigate the case of an opposition leader who declared in his income statement that he had won the national lottery three times, earning a combined 571,045 hryvnias (16,093 pounds).

Since last year, Ukrainian lawmakers and public sector workers have had to declare their incomes in an online database, a rule aimed at tackling entrenched corruption.

The National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NAZK) is meant to check whether such declarations are honest.

NAZK said it would assess Lyashko’s declaration in light of the public interest. “In the event violations are detected, the national agency will take measures in accordance with the current legislation,” NAZK said in a statement.

The first declarations a year ago shocked Ukrainians, with some officials declaring ownership of hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, fleets of luxury cars and large tracts of land.

Oleh Lyashko, the head of the populist Radical Party who has styled himself as a representative of the common man, last year declared that he owned property in Kiev’s most exclusive district and his household had cash worth more than $1 million.

The average monthly salary in Ukraine is $267.

Lyashko updated the declaration on Tuesday to report his lottery victories, prompting some wry comments online and a call by a former MP for an investigation.

Lyashko’s office had no immediate comment.

“(To win) three times in a row is the stuff of fantasy,” Evgen Zhovtyak, former deputy of parliament, said on 112 TV.

“I think here there is every reason for law enforcement bodies to interest themselves in whether this lottery is a fraudulent organisation with which only politicians of Lyashko’s rank can win.”

The Ukrainian national lottery said in a statement: “Information on lottery winners and on the personal data of specific players is confidential information in accordance with current legislation and cannot be disclosed without the agreement of the players.”

Writing by Matthias Williams; editing by Mark Heinrich

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