Ukrainian prosecutors have detained the head of a state commission overseeing non-bank financial companies on corruption-related charges, the state prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday.
Vasyl Volga, the detained man, became the highest-ranking member of a current government to be held on corruption charges since Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich came to power in February, 2010.
The move followed comments from Western governments expressing concern that the anti-corruption campaign in the former Soviet republic seemed to focus on members of the previous government who were now in opposition.
Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Mr. Yanukovich’s fiercest opponent, is on trial over abuse-of-office charges which she denies. Several of her allies face charges as well.
Mr. Yanukovich has said their prosecution was not politically motivated and was merely a part of his government’s drive against corruption.
In a move that could lend more credibility to the government’s position, prosecutors said on Tuesday they had detained Mr. Volga, the head of the State Commission for Regulation of Financial Services Market.
The state prosecutor’s office did not provide any details.
Mr. Volga has been in charge of overseeing insurance companies, credit unions, pension funds and other financial services companies since March, 2010.
Unlike many other government members, Mr. Volga, who was once a member of a parliamentary committee on fighting corruption, is not a member of Mr. Yanukovich’s Regions Party.
Since winning a close runoff against Ms. Tymoshenko in 2010, Mr. Yanukovich has consolidated power and tilted foreign policy toward Russia by moves such as abandoning a bid to join NATO.
He has, however, kept European integration a strategic foreign policy goal, making the Kiev government mindful of how it is perceived in the West.
Follow us on Twitter: