Yanukovich hit for money laundering

  • 2005-04-20
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - Ukraine's Interior Minister Yury Lucenka has reportedly accused former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich of laundering campaign money in Lithuania.

The Lithuanian Respublika daily reported that Lucenka, while answering questions on the Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper's Web site on April 13, claimed that the $130 million that had been allocated to Yanukovich's campaign effort last year were laundered in the Baltic state.

According to the interior minister, one of Yanukovich's officials managed to cash this amount at a Lithuanian bank before the elections.

Lucenka further said that the pro-Russia Yanukovich, as "one of the culprits behind the violations that were observed in the elections," could face criminal charges.

Respublika reported that Lithuanian officials had no information about millions of dollars laundered through local banks, although all financial transactions in the amount of at least 50,000 litas (14,000 euros) must be reported to the Financial Crime Investigation Service.

The FCIS's deputy director, Valdas Grendelis, told the paper that the service so far had no comment on the Ukrainian police chief's statement.

Respublika claimed that the FCIS has had no information about such a large amount of money being laundered in Lithuania.

Deputy Prosecutor General Gintaras Jasaitis said he had doubts about Lucenka's information.

"This could not have happened. The bank was supposed to notify the FCIS, which would start an investigation. However, there is no such pre-trial investigation in progress," he said.

Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis, who was on a visit to Kiev last week, was not aware of any investigation involving the financing of Yanukovich's campaign. In the words of his adviser, Violeta Gaizauskaite, who accompanied him to Kiev, Ukrainian officials did not mention the accusations at any meeting.