Ukrainian Lawmaker Accused of Illegally Holidaying in Maldives

Ukrainian Lawmaker Accused of Illegally Holidaying in Maldives

26 July 2023 ( KyivPost )

Ukrainian lawmaker is under investigation accused of illegally leaving the country to take a luxury holiday in the Maldives.

According to a recent investigation by Ukrainian media outlet “Slidstvo.Info”, people’s deputy Yuriy Aristov, 48, a member of the “Servant of the People” Party, was spotted in the luxurious 5-Star Waldorf Astoria Maldives hotel on the private island of Ithafushi in mid-July.

To confirm the authenticity of this information, “Slidstvo.Info” journalists contacted the hotel directly. Hotel employees verified that Yuri Aristov had indeed been a guest at their resort.

However, by the time they received the inquiry, he had already checked out.

The cost of accommodation in this exclusive resort ranges from 100,000 hryvnias ($2,600) to a staggering 323,000 hryvnias ($8800) for one night. There is even a premium villa option that exceeds one million hryvnias per night ($26,700).

Under current martial law, Ukrainian men aged 18-60 are forbidden from travelling abroad although serving members of the country’s parliament can do so if it is for work purposes.

The investigation has already revealed that Aristov was out of Ukraine between June 05 and July 22, 2023. During this period, he had undertaken a three-day business trip to Poland to strengthen bilateral cooperation with the Lithuanian government.

On July 10, 2023, while still abroad, Aristov allegedly took sick leave, valid until July 19, 2023, through a private medical institution in Kyiv.

However, authorities discovered that the medical examination associated with the sick leave had not taken place, suggesting the possibility of falsified information.

As a consequence, a criminal case has been initiated against him, and law enforcement agencies are conducting extensive searches to uncover the truth.

Despite attempts to reach out to Aristov and his assistant, journalists were met with silence.

Following the publication of the investigation, Aristov swiftly resigned as a people’s deputy. Parliament speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk announced this on Facebook.

“The application will be considered at the next plenary session,” the head of the Verkhovna Rada said.

This is not the first time such an incident happened in Ukraine. Back in January 2023, Mykola Tyshchenko, a member of the Servant of the People faction, posted a video of himself enjoying a swim in the azure, tropical seas of Thailand during what was purportedly a work trip. 

He was in the country under the pretext of “establishing ties with the Ukrainian diaspora”. 

When the video appeared on social media on Jan. 26, his party called an urgent meeting where it was decided to expel him.

“It seems like not everyone understands what a people’s deputy must be doing in the war-torn country,” the head of the party’s parliamentary faction, Davyd Arakhamiya, said.