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Ukrainian NGO Accused of Money Laundering

Ukraine -- Oleh Rybachuk, Kyiv, 26Mar2013
Ukraine -- Oleh Rybachuk, Kyiv, 26Mar2013
Centre UA, a Ukrainian nongovernmental organization, says the country's Interior Ministry has opened a criminal case against it, accusing it of money laundering.

Centre UA has described itself as an "active participant" in the ongoing "Euromaidan" protests in Kyiv.

It is associated with Ukraine's Stop Censorship movement and has partnered with journalists and local media outlets, including the popular news website, "Ukrainska Pravda," in a reporting project investigating the financial activities of prominent Ukrainian officials.

Oleh Rybachuk, the group's chairman, condemned the probe as "the continuation of systematic repression of authorities against civil society" in Ukraine, according to RFE/RL's Ukraine service.

Rybachuk participated in a discussion of the Euromaidan protests in a Google + Hangout organized by RFE/RL on December 3.

In a statement published by the Ukrainian NGO Chesno, Svitlana Zalishchuk, Centre USA's Executive Director, refuted the accusations, saying, "Centre UA regularly runs an independent audit, including the one on the compliance of financial activities with Ukrainian legislation, and is proud of its transparency. We consider the criminal case as pressure and intimidation in connection with our activity."

With reporting from RFE/RL's Ukrainian service.