Ukraine’s top prosecutor announced Wednesday that the country is expanding its probe into the founder of Burisma, whose whereabouts are currently unknown to authorities, to include suspected embezzlement of state funds.
Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka said Burisma founder Mykola Zlochevsky is suspected of “theft of government funds on an especially large scale,” but did not provide any further details of the allegation, Reuters reported.
A trio of Ukranian lawmakers released a document at a separate news conference on Wednesday showing that Zlochevsky was suspected of using his position as Ukraine’s minister of ecology and natural resources to embezzle the equivalent of $33 million, Reuters added.
Zlochevsky served as minister of ecology and natural resources from 2010 through 2012.
In addition, Ryaboshapka said the investigation into the Burisma founder is effectively on hold as his whereabouts are currently unknown to Ukranian authorities.
Ryaboshapka launched a review of 15 criminal investigations involving Zlochevsky and Burisma when he assumed the post of Ukraine’s prosecutor general in late August.
“Currently we are reviewing the criminal cases that have been previously pursued by the Prosecutor General’s Office,” Ryaboshapka said in October, according to the Kyiv Post. “The sphere you’re talking about features [Burisma owner and former Ecology Minister Mykola] Zlochevsky, [Yanukovych ally and tycoon Serhiy] Kurchenko and other people and companies – there are about 15 such cases.”
The announcement of Ukraine’s expanded probe into Zlochevsky comes amid an impeachment inquiry into whether President Donald Trump withheld military assistance to the country in exchange for an investigation into Burisma and Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, who served on the board of the natural gas company from 2014 to 2019.