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Ukraine lawmakers made to declare assets online

Ukrainian public servants have disclosed millions in cash, luxury cars, and even holy relics after a new anti-graft law came into force. The move has been hailed by activists in corruption-plagued Kyiv.

Ukrainians woke up on Monday morning to discover just how wide the income gap was between them and their elected officials. Late the previous evening, a deadline for a new anti-corruption measure passed, forcing lawmakers nationwide to declare the full extent of their wealth online.

In a country where the average monthly salary is around $200, President Petro Poroshenko disclosed that he is worth around $26.3 million. Much of this stems from the time he ran Ukraine's most successful confectionary business, and though he swore upon his election he would sell his chocolate factories, he has yet to do so.

Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman declared a vast sum of money - $1.2 million in Ukrainian hryvnia and 460,000 euros - held entirely in cash and designer watches at his home.

The publicly searchable database of some 50,000 officials also revealed fleets of luxury cars, huge stashes of jewelry and plots of land, as well as some more bizarre assets like holy relics and a ticket for a commercial space flight.

The declarations also showed how keen many lawmakers were to keep their funds outside of the Ukranian banking system.

Activists hailed the measure that Groysman last week compared with jumping out of an airplane.

Olexandra Ustinova of Ukraine's Anti-Corruption Action Center called it "a kind of new revolution for Ukraine," and urged the government's anti-graft task force to immediately take up investigations.

es/msh (AP, Reuters)

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