Roman Semenchenko, former head of the National Security Department at Ukraine’s SBU security service, has been dismissed over his involvement in surveillance of the editorial team of investigative journalism outlet Bihus.Info, NV’s sources in the SBU said on Feb. 5.
The confirmation comes after Bihus.Info published evidence of SBU operatives installing hidden cameras that were used to spy on the journalists.
The decision to fire Semenchenko was made by SBU head Vasyl Malyuk, who submitted a corresponding request to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The president sacked Semenchenko on Jan. 31.
“At the very least, those 'personnel' who spied on the Bihus editorial team must face responsibility,” one source at SBU said.
“The least that can be done is to send them to the front line.”
Earlier on Feb. 5, Bihus.Info released evidence of the SBU's complicity in surveilling the editorial team during a New Year's corporate event. According to the journalists, SBU employees installed hidden cameras in at least eight hotel rooms and in the sauna at the venue. The operation, according to the investigation, was led by the SBU's National Security Department.
Semenchenko did not deny SBU’s involvement in the surveillance in a conversation with Bihus.Info.
The SBU responded to the Bihus.Info investigation by accusing "certain staff members" of the editorial team of illegal drug use but did not deny conducting the surveillance operation.
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