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Published in Stream:
Day 869: July 5, 2016
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Ukrainian MP Accused Of Corruption Is Stripped Of Immunity But Has Fled To Moscow
6 years
3 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed, 13 Wounded Yesterday

Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has voted to approve the Prosecutor-General's request that Olekandr Onyshchenko, an MP with the Volya Naroda party, be stripped of his immunity and arrested.

Interfax-Ukraine reports that three requests were approved, one after another:

The parliament on Tuesday voted separately on three positions: for criminal prosecution of Onyschenko - 275 votes, for his detention – 265, and for his arrest – 263.

Onyshchenko is suspected of stealing billions of hryvnia-worth of funds from a state gas company. 

According to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), Onyshchenko created several companies which traded gas at falsified market rates allowing him to fraudulently recoup around 3 billion hryvnia (around $120 million).

Onyshchenko has denied all the accusations, but while he had vowed to appear in parliament for the hearing on his immunity, he fled the country on Saturday.

A photo on the MPs Instagram account indicated that he was in Moscow on Sunday night. While Onyshchenko's own photo was not geotagged, one of his companions from the photograph reposted his photo with the location given as Moscow:

Set as default press image
2016-07-05 10:27:58

In a telephone interview with, published this morning, Onyshchenko indicated he no longer intended to attend the Rada, saying:

"Why fly, when I have been framed and left high and dry once again. I was promised due process and trial. But they decided to do everything lawlessly."

Yuriy Lutsenko, the Prosecutor-General, said that Onyshchenko had been able to flee the country because of existing parliamentary regulations which give an MP five days to offer written explanations ahead of any votes on their lifting criminal immunity.

Because the immunity still applies in the meantime, law enforcement was powerless to stop Onyshchenko boarding a plane and leaving the country.

Lutsenko said that he would soon file an official notice of criminal suspicion against the fugitive MP and that he could be placed on international wanted lists.

Of course, as the Prosecutor-General noted, the Russian Federation would almost certainly refuse to cooperate with Ukraine on such issues, however a chance may appear during this summer's Olympic Games in Brazil.

Onyshchenko competed as an equestrian jumper in the 2012 London Olympics and is due to participate at the those in Rio de Janeiro this year.

-- Pierre Vaux