A Ukrainian MP is being investigated for calling in sick during the war, and then showing up in the Maldives with his wife and kids

11 months ago 32
  • A Ukrainian lawmaker is under investigation after he was found vacationing in the Maldives.
  • He left Ukraine in June on a trip to Poland, and called in sick while abroad on July 10, per officials.
  • He and his family were then discovered to be staying at the Waldorf Astoria, authorities said.

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Kyiv is investigating a lawmaker who went on sick leave during the war but was then found holidaying with his family in the Maldives, per Ukraine's State Bureau of Investigation.

Yuriy Aristov, a 48-year-old Ukrainian member of parliament, was discovered staying at the five-star Waldorf Astoria hotel complex on the private island of Ithaafushi in July, Ukrainian outlet Slidstvo.info first reported on Monday.

The State Bureau of Investigation later published a Wednesday statement further detailing Aristov's whereabouts, though it did not name him and instead referred to the lawmaker as "a people's deputy."

Aristov initially left Ukraine for a three-day business trip to Poland on June 5, the bureau said. It didn't say where the lawmaker went afterward, but that he remained outside the country.

Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 are not allowed to leave Ukraine amid Russia's invasion, except for state-sanctioned trips.

Aristov then called in sick on July 10, remotely registering with a private medical institution in Kyiv, the bureau said. His sick leave lasted until July 19, authorities added.

But Aristov was discovered to have been staying with his wife and children at the Waldorf Astoria — where accommodation prices start at around $5,300 per night — until as late as July 22, the bureau added. 

The luxury resort is only accessible by yacht from the airport, and hosts 119 villas with private pools, as well as a restaurant run by Michelin-starred chef Dave Pynt, per its website.

Journalists from Slidstvo.info called the Waldorf Astoria to check if Aristov was staying at its Maldivian hotel and reported that a receptionist confirmed the lawmaker was a guest.

The State Bureau of Investigation said it's determining if Aristov knowingly submitted false information or documents about his travels, and is probing the legality of his vacation since Ukrainian officials are banned from holidaying during the war. 

The Ukrainian authorities raided Aristov's apartment and seized his passport, publishing a YouTube video showing immigration stamps for the Maldives dated July on the passport.

He faces up to three years in prison if convicted, the bureau said.

On Tuesday, Ukraine's parliament chairman Ruslan Stefanchuk announced on Facebook that he had received a letter of resignation from Aristov.

Aristov was a member of the Servant of the People party, which is the party of Ukraine's current government and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The investigation into Aristov echoes the January expelling of Mykola Tyshchenko, a Servant of the People lawmaker who posted a video of himself swimming in Thailand while Ukraine suffered a brutal winter. Tschenko said he was in the country for a work trip, but Stefanchuk said he never approved such a trip.

Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside regular business hours on Aristov's diplomatic travels.

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