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Ukraine Ex-president Yanukovych Put on Interpol 'Wanted' List

by VOA News January 12, 2015

Interpol has put Ukraine's former president Viktor Yanukovych on its international wanted persons list on charges of embezzlement.

The international police organization's website posted a so-called 'red notice,' stating that Yanukovych is wanted by Ukraine's judicial authorities on charges of 'misappropriation, embezzlement or conversion of property through malversation' - meaning improper or corrupt behavior in office - on a large scale or by an organized group.

Yanukovych fled Ukraine for Russia last February in the face of mass street protests in which more than 100 people, mostly demonstrators, were killed. Protest leaders allege that Yanukovych gave the order to security forces to use lethal force against demonstrators.

Interpol issues red notices to assist national police forces identify and locate wanted persons for arrest and extradition.

Russia's Interfax news agency on Monday quoted what it called 'a source familiar with the situation' as saying Moscow is likely to turn down a request to extradite Yanukovych, who is believed to be living in an upscale suburb of the Russian capital.

Ukrainian authorities allege Yanukovych and his circle, made up of relatives and allies, were extensively corrupt, amassing great wealth at the expense of the country. Yanukovich has denied that he or members of his family were involved in corruption.

Several other former officials in Yanukovych's government have also been added to Interpol's international wanted persons list, including former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and former Finance Minister Yuriy Kolobov, as well as Georgii Dzekon, the former chairman of Ukrtelecom, the country's largest telecommunications company.

A list published by Ukraine Interior Minister Arsen Avakov names additional former officials but no information on them can be found on the Interpol site. It remains unclear whether their names would still be added.

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