U.S. promises to return to Ukraine funds stolen by ex-PM Lazarenko – Lutsenko

Relevant U.S. authorities have assured the Ukrainian side that if a decision is made to confiscate the funds of Ukraine`s former Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, most of this money will be transferred back to Ukraine, Ukraine`s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said at an international roundtable in Kyiv, according to an UNIAN correspondent.

He said that despite the fact that the Lazarenko case, in which Ukraine cooperates with the U.S., is the most developed one among other high-profile anti-corruption cases, the investigation has not been completed seven years since its start.

”We hope that this year we will finally see the completion. Moreover, the relevant U.S. services assure Ukraine that it can count on the major part of the funds that are expected to be confiscated,” he added.

Earlier, on December 15, Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yevhen Yenin said that the Prosecutor General`s Office had expected, following the court ruling in the U.S., to begin talks on the return of $280 million withdrawn from Ukraine by Lazarenko.

Lazarenko headed the Ukrainian government from June 1996 to July 1997. In 1998, he became a people`s deputy and headed the Hromada faction in Parliament.

In February 1999, he was arrested in the United States with a Panamanian passport. Lazerenko spent four years in prison awaiting trial.

In June 2003, he was released on a $65 million bail, but on October 1, 2008, the former prime minister decided to return to the American prison, saying that he feared for his life.

The prosecutor`s office accused Lazarenko of extortion, fraud, transportation of stolen assets, and laundering of $280 million in 1994-1999.

Lazarenko also appears in reports published in the spring of 2016 on the owners of large offshore companies. The so-called Panama Papers report included a bulk of leaked documents on offshore schemes of a Panama-based firm Mossack Fonseca.

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