KIEV, Ukraine (JTA) — Ukraine’s secret service detained the chairman of that country’s Orthodox Union chapter on charges of embezzling community money.
Dmitry (Daniel) Shuval, 27, the chairman of the Kharkov Jewish Community Orthodox Union, was arrested in the Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrovsk past week, where he was hiding.
Shuval is suspected of having gambled and lost at least $1 million on the London Stock Exchange.
According to the Ukrainski Novyny newspaper, he leveraged six apartments that belonged to the Kharkov Orthodox Union to raise the money.
Shuval is reportedly facing charges of business fraud and feigning his own kidnapping.
Local Jewish activists were appalled. Dmitry Baranov, a former leader of a progressive congregation in Kharkov, told JTA that the charges place the community in "disgrace."
The Orthodox Union has focused its efforts in Ukraine on Kharkov, the country’s second largest city and the home of the Josef K. Miller Torah Center, established in 1992. One of the main goals of the Kharkov program is to encourage aliya.
An estimated 400-500 people — mainly students and their family members — take part in O.U.-organized activities throughout the year.