In a statement Monday, National Anti-Corruption Bureau and Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecutors’ office said they have filed the charges against Mykola Chaus, a fugitive Kyiv judge, who was kidnapped in Moldova under unclear circumstances and re-emerged in Ukraine this summer.
Mykola Chaus is facing bribery charges under art.368 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code, which carries a punishment of up to 12 years in prison.
The date of a preliminary hearing has not been set yet.
The Backstory of Mykola Chaus abduction and trials
The fugitive Ukrainian judge who fled Ukaine in 2016 facing bribing charges was kidnapped in Chisinau in early April this year and his whereabouts has long remained unknown
Mykola Chaus was arrested by NABU investigators after taking a $150,000 bribe and stashing money in a glass jar in his backyard. The judge opted not to wait for a court ruling and fled the country. The investigation found that fleeing Ukraine Chaus got assistance from his lawyer Andriy Smirnov, who is currently working as a top official of Zelensky’s administration.
April 3, 2021
Iulian Balan, Mykola Chaus lawyer in Moldova, inform about his client disappearance, and later reported the accident to the local police.
According to Moldova media reports, the judge was allegedly taken out of the country in the back of a Ukrainian diplomats’ car. Soon the photos of kidnapped Mykola Chaus emerged. In the photos, his face was visibly bruised.
April 8, 2021
Joint investigation of Moldova and Ukraine’s journalists revealed the evidence showing that the judge was kidnapped by Ukrainian nationals with the ties to Ukraine’s intelligence service. The journalists obtained the abductors’ photos and copies of their documents. The investigation claimed that Chaus kidnapping could be used for a smear campaign against Ukraine’s senior intelligence official Vasyl Burba who was at the time facing scrutiny over his role in the failed Wagner mercenaries capture scheme. .
May 16-17, 2021
Mykola Chaus ‘reemerged’ with his ‘Telegram’ video to claim that he was, in reality, abducted in 2016, and not in 2021. In his video, the judge states that he remains in a ‘safe place’, says ‘hello’ to his wife, promising her, on return to Ukraine, to punish those who were to blame for ‘their woes’.
July 31, 2021
Ukraine’s Security Service (the SBU) informed they detained Mykola Chaus in the village near Vinnytsya on a tip from locals. NABU investigators staged a chase after the SBU operatives’ van escorting the detained judge to Kyiv on claims they had authority over his criminal case.
August 2, 2021
MP Geo Leros alleged Volodymyr Zelensky had a secret meeting with Mykola Chaus before the fugitive judge was ‘found’ in Vinnytsia region
August 4, Higher Anticorruption Court orders 2 weeks’ house arrest and electoric monitoring for Mykola Chaus, refusing a motion challenging the judge.