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 NABU chief says fugitive MP Onyshchenko might be tried in absentia

Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) Artem Sytnyk does not rule out the possibility of trying in absentia MP Oleksandr Onyshchenko charged with large-scale embezzlement.

Sytnyk said in an interview with Hromadske.TV on Tuesday, Censor.NET reports citing Interfax-Ukraine.

"I certainly discussed with Kholodnytskyi (Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office Head - ed.) the trial of Onyshchenko in absentia as a possible scenario. However, we still hope that he will be detained and extradited," the law enforcer said.

He also noted that NABU was focused "not only on holding perpetrators accountable for the commission of corruption offenses," but also on elimination of corruption schemes.

Read more: Person named in "Onyshchenko's gas case" Svichenko has fled, - Nashi Hroshi

"If we are talking about this 'gas scheme', it has been eliminated: the joint ventures have been closed down under court rulings. Therefore, this scheme is actually not functioning now. Ukrhazvydobuvannia employees, the crime ring members involved in this scheme, and State Fiscal Service officials have been held accountable while the scheme itself has been eliminated by a court decision," Sytnyk stressed.

According to him, now there are more than 10 suspects in the 'gas case'.

On March 16, the NABU raided the office of Onyshchenko. It stated the searches were carried out under the pre-trial investigation into abuse of office during the sale of natural gas extracted jointly with Ukrhazvydobuvannia SE.

Later, the NABU requested the Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) to remove the immunity from people's deputy Onyshchenko. Moreover, the NABU and the PGO claim Onyshchenko is involved in embezzlement of 1.6 billion hryvnia (approx. $64.02 million).

Read more: We know he has more than one passport, - Sytnyk on fugitive Onyshchenko

On June 16, Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko issued a motion requesting Verkhovna Rada's consent for criminal prosecution, arrest, and pre-trial detention of Onyshchenko. On July 5, the parliament approved the detention and arrest of the lawmaker.

The suspect himself stated he was busy with the preparation for the upcoming Olympics and not going to react to NABU's actions. On July 29, Onyshchenko said he was in the U.K. and had applied for political asylum.

Read more: MP Onyshchenko has records of Poroshenko discussing buying votes and Ukrhazvydobuvannia's shadow dividends, - Dzerkalo Tyzhnia

On Dec. 1, 2016, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) announced it suspected fugitive MP Onyshchenko of high treason. As noted, the MP acquired Russian citizenship in exchange for cooperation with Russian authorities to destabilize the situation in Ukraine. On the same day, Onyshchenko said he had provided compromising materials against President Poroshenko to the U.S. intelligence.


   
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