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Lawyer Reveals Details Of Yushchenko Corruption Probe

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko (file photo)
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko (file photo)

A lawyer for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has disclosed some details of the corruption charges his client is facing in the high-profile case.

The Ukrainian Prosecutor-General’s Office on June 6 announced that Yushchenko is being investigated with suspected abuse of power and possession of state property in what investigators called the illegal privatization of a residential complex near Kyiv that served as a residence for his prime minister and successor Viktor Yanukovych.

A spokeswoman for the Prosecutor-General’s Office said that Yushchenko was suspected in the "misappropriation, embezzlement of property, or seizure of it via abuse of office" with regard to the Mezhyhirya Residence.

According to Sarhan, Yushchenko, who was president from 2005 to 2010, is suspected in assisting Yanukovych to illegally privatize the property worth 540 million hryvnyas ($19.7 million).

A lawyer for Yushchenko, Vitaliy Haum, said his client is accused of signing an order to transfer control of the residence to the Cabinet of Ministers.

Ultimately, the property was privatized through a fictitious Donetsk-based company, according to the Ukraine’s UNIAN news agency.

Speaking on June 6 to Current Time, Haum said he would be meeting with Yanukovych’s lawyers next week to discuss the matter.

Mezhyhirya, a lavish residence outside Kyiv, used to be a state property before it was privatized in 2007 by a businessman linked to Yanukovych, who succeeded Yushchenko in 2010.

In February 2014, Yanukovych fled the country following the violent anti-government protests known as Euromaidan.

The 350-acre Mezhyhirya site has since been turned into a national park and museum.

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