Ukraine launches investigation into lawmaker’s wartime Maldives trip

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - KYIV, July 26 — Ukrainian prosecutors have opened a criminal case into a lawmaker suspected of taking a luxury holiday in the Maldives in breach of a wartime ban on private travel abroad, the general prosecutor’s office said today.

Private trips abroad by officials have been banned since January, while most Ukrainian men aged 18-60 are also barred from leaving the country under martial law that was brought in when Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

The investigation found the lawmaker had travelled to Poland for three days on a business trip and later taken sick leave, during which he was in the Maldives with his family, the general prosecutor’s office said.

The lawmaker stayed in a hotel on the private island of Ithaafushi in Maldives in mid-July, said the State Bureau of Investigation, which is running the investigation with the Security Service of Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy appeared to allude directly to the case in his nightly speech on Tuesday, in which he railed against corruption and officials who shirk their responsibilities during the war.

“Any internal betrayal, any ‘beach’ (holiday) or any personal enrichment instead of Ukraine’s interests triggers fury at the very least. Fury. Remember that,” he said.

Neither he, nor the prosecutors, named the lawmaker.

No charges have yet been brought in the case, which is investigating the possibility of forgery in official documents about the duration, purpose and destination of a business trip. Such forgery is punishable by up to three years in jail. — Reuters

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