KIEV, August 11. /TASS/. A court in Kiev has refused to consider an appeal from the defense lawyers of Ukraine’s former president, Viktor Yanukovych, against his investigation in absentia, a Ukrainian news portal has said.
The Ukrainian Prosecutor-General’s Office on August 6 formally summoned Yanukovych for questioning through a government-published daily. He is suspected of usurping power and illegally coming into possession of state-owned assets, such as buildings and other facilities of the Pushcha Voditsa rest and leisure compound. A court in Kiev on July 27 issued permission to investigate Yanukovych in his absence.
Kiev is prepared to guarantee former president Viktor Yanukovych will enjoy personal security identical to that provided to witnesses under the witness protection program if he agrees to be questioned in Kiev.
Yanukovych refused to arrive at the Prosecutor-General’s head office for questioning on August 11 due to a threat to his life and health.
His lawyer said the president had dispatched a notarially certified statement to the prosecutor’s office with a request for starting the investigation he was involved in and agreed to testify either in a distance conference mode or to an investigator at the place of his current residence in Russia’s city of Rostov-on-Don.
The lawyer said Yanukovych might agree to arrive in Ukraine only after the attempt at his assassination during the Euromaidan demonstrations has been investigated. The request had been filed back in January 2015, but the Prosecutor-General’s Office opened a criminal case and handed it over to the Interior Ministry’s investigation department only six months later.
Yanukovych’s lawyer Vitaly Serdyuk said the former official is not going to hide from law enforcers as he wants society to see he is to no blame.
"Yanukovych is not hiding from investigators. On the contrary, he insists on investigation. He wants the truth be established as soon as possible to see whether he is guilty or not," Serdyuk told the 112 television channel.
The lawyer said his client had asked the prosecutor general’s office to make public materials proving his guilt but his request had been turned down.
"Yanukovych will do nothing to hamper investigation activities with his participation in Russia," he said. "But investigators advanced demands that are beyond the current laws on criminal procedure, namely, they demanded he show up at the embassy and notify about his address (place of residence). But as defense, I see nothing that might hamper the implementation of these demands."