FILE PHOTO: The Ukrainian Constitutional Court building is seen in central Kiev, Ukraine March 10, 2016. REUTERS / Valentyn Ogirenko

KYIV (Reuters) – Ukrainian prosecutors said on Monday they were investigating Constitutional Court chief Oleksandr Tupytskyi over alleged corruption of a witness and called for Tupytskyi’s suspension for two months.

“He influenced the witness in criminal proceedings by bribing him to refuse to testify or to knowingly give false testimony,” the press service of Attorney General Iryna Venediktova said in a statement on Monday. .

The alleged incident took place in 2018, when Tupytskyi was deputy chairman of the court, the press service said.

Tupytskyi did not appear at the prosecutor’s office on Monday despite a request to do so. His office was quoted by the Interfax Ukraine news agency as saying he had no intention of avoiding legal proceedings, but that it was against Ukrainian law to dismiss a judge of the Constitutional Court. . Reuters was unable to reach him for comment.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the Constitutional Court are at loggerheads after the court overturned key anti-corruption legislation in October, hampering the government’s prospects of securing foreign aid loans.

The office of Venediktova, an ally of Zelenskiy, declined to comment further.

Zelenskiy had asked parliament in October to dissolve the tribunal, prompting Tupytskyi to accuse Zelenskiy of a “constitutional coup”.

The government, which is grappling with a severe economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic, is trying to put its $ 5 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund on track and hopes to receive more money in February or march.

He passed a law this month to counter the October court ruling.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Peter Graff

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