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Ukraine backs bill to jail officials for false asset declarations

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By Reuters
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KYIV – Ukraine’s parliament on Tuesday approved in a final reading a law to impose jail sentences on officials who make false asset declarations, a requirement set by the International Monetary Fund to secure lending under a $5 billion programme.

Lawmakers closed loopholes in the bill that would have allowed officials to avoid declaring the property of their relatives. Those loopholes had caused President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to reject a previous version earlier this month.

Under the law, officials who do not submit asset declarations or fail to declare assets worth more than 4.2 million hryvnias (around $150,000) could face one year in jail.

International lenders have made fighting corruption a condition for future loans for Ukraine.

The new law is billed as a partial solution to problems that arose last October, when the Constitutional Court struck down some anti-corruption laws as excessive, including legislation allowing officials to be jailed for hiding their wealth.

That ruling had hobbled Ukraine’s prospects of securing more IMF loans and prompted Zelenskiy to suspend the head of the court.