Ukraine police find 42 kg of gold in home of ex-energy minister

KIEV, March 22 Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:08am EDT

KIEV, March 22 (Reuters) - Ukrainian police have seized 42 kilograms of gold and $4.8 million in cash during a search of the apartments of Ukraine's former Energy Minister Eduard Stavytsky, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Saturday.

Avakov said the searches had been conducted in connection with a corruption investigation in the energy sector.

"It blew my mind when I received a report on the results this morning. How much would one have to steal, to have such a 'trifle' at home as pocket money," Avakov said in a post on Facebook.

Stavytsky's career blossomed under the presidency of ousted Viktor Yanukovich and was appointed energy minister in December 2012.

Ukrainian media describe Stavytsky as a member of Yanukovich's inner circle. He could not be reached for comment.

Ukrainian police on Friday detained another energy official - the chief executive of state energy company Naftogaz, Yevhen Bakulin, as part of the investigation into corruption that it says may have cost the Ukrainian state about $4 billion.

Naftogaz is responsible for the import and distribution of Russian natural gas in Ukraine. It also holds a monopoly on the shipment of gas from Russia's Gazprom via Ukraine to Europe. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Alessandra Prentice and Andrew Roche)