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US keeps silent over whereabouts of Ukraine ex-PM released from prison

November 02, 2012, 12:06 UTC+3
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said that a special statement on this issue is being prepared
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WASHINGTON, November 2 (Itar-Tass) — The U.S. authorities keep silent over the whereabouts of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavel Lazarenko who was released from the Terminal Island prison after serving a long-term sentence in the United States for financial fraud.

However, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said that a special statement on this issue is being prepared.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is preparing a press release that should be coordinated with Washington, an ICE official told Itar-Tass by phone declining to confirm or deny the information that after his release from prison Lazarenko was handed over to the U.S. immigration authorities.

Earlier the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons informed that on Thursday Lazarenko was released from Terminal Island located in San Pedro near Los Angeles, California.

He stayed in prison for more than ten years.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke confirmed that Lazarenko was really released from prison on Thursday.

“He is no longer under our jurisdiction,” he told Itar-Tass noting he did not know anything about the ex-prime minister’s whereabouts.

However, Burke added that as a rule, prisoners, who are non-citizens of the United States, are handed over to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement after serving their sentence.

Lazarenko’s lawyer Viktor Chevguz told the Kiev-based Segodnya (Today) newspaper that “after prison Lazarenko will arrive in his residence in the U.S.”

The ex-prime minister’s U.S. lawyers do not answer the phones.

Lazarenko headed the Ukrainian government in 1996-1997. In 2006, after a long trial in the United States he was sentenced to 9 years in prison for money laundering.

In Ukraine, investigators charged Lazarenko with about 50 criminal episodes, including bribery, embezzlement and abuse of office.

Ukrainian First Deputy Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin also confirmed that Lazarenko and Yulia Timoshenko “are suspected of involvement in organizing the murder of parliamentarian Yevgeny Shcherban.”

“If Lazarenko returns to Ukraine from the United States, the former prime minister is to be arrested on a court warrant on several criminal charges, including the murder of Shcherban. We look forward to his arrival,” Kuzmin said.


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