Fugitive Ukrainian Lawmaker Onyshchenko Detained in Germany
3 December, 2019

Fugitive lawmaker Oleksandr Onyshchenko, wanted for embezzling 1.6 billion hryvnia ($59 million) from a Ukrainian state-owned energy company, has been detained in Germany, according to a statement from the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office. German authorities are currently debating on when to set a court hearing for Onyshchenko’s extradition, a measure Ukraine has been pursuing since Onyshchenko fled Ukraine to avoid arrest in 2016.

READ MORE: The Onyschenko Case: A Step Toward The Anti-Corruption Struggle?

According to previous information, Onyshchenko had been living primarily in Spain, though sightings have been reported in other EU countries. His arrest in Germany comes at the request of Ukrainian authorities, including the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. It is unknown how the current extradition request will impact Onyshchenko’s status in Spain, where he alleges to have applied for asylum status. 

Onyshchenko claims that the charges against him are politically motivated. However, despite fleeing to Europe, there continues to be evidence of his involvement in Ukrainian politics – including donations made by Onyshchenko’s close allies to former prime minister Yuliya Tymoshenko’s opposition party Batkivshchyna. 

READ MORE: Dozens of Suspicious Tymoshenko Party Donations Traced to Fugitive MP Onyshchenko – Investigation

The fugitive lawmaker also released audio recording of what he claims to be are conversations between himself and former president Petro Poroshenko, as they discuss a request by ex-ecology minister Mykola Zlochevsky – whose gas company, Burisma, is at the center of the U.S. impeachment scandal – to close criminal cases against himself and his company. At the time of those releases, a spokesperson for Poroshenko’s administration claimed that the recordings are fakes.

READ MORE: Fugitive Ukrainian MP Denies Facing Extradition In Spain

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