Yushchenko Son Says Bentley Arson Accusations Aimed Against Father, While President Loses People Trust
KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko’s son, Andriy Yushchenko, has told a local on 5 Kanal TV that accusations of organizing the burning of a Bentley car that belonged to the publisher of a celebrity photo magazine could be aimed against his father’s image.
He denied threatening the publisher, Walid Harfouche, who has repeatedly claimed that Andriy warned his brother, Omar, against publishing any more of his pictures, threatening he will make him “disappear”. Andriy denies even the fact of conversation with Omar.
“I learnt about the arson from the media, as anyone else. It was a big surprise when there was an attempt to connect me with the arson. As regards the photos, I can say that for this people do not usually burn cars. This is simply an attempt to improve Harfouche’s image or an act by my father’s opponents,” the president’s son commented on the Oct. 2 attack.
“If this situation concerned only myself I would not care. But this hits my father. We should understand that there will be more Harfouches and more scandals like this. My father’s opponents have enough imagination to continue this for a long time,” Andriy concluded.
Meanwhile since Yushchenko’s coming to power in January 2005 his trust ratings have first fallen to less than 50 per cent. Although 51 per cent of Ukrainians believed the president in September, now their number has fallen to only 44 per cent.
Yushchenko’s teenage son sparked a scandal earlier this summer when a Ukrainian Internet site reported on his allegedly lavish lifestyle, sparking an angry outburst from Yushchenko. The president later apologized, claiming Andriy has all copyright for Orange revolution memorabilia that lets him lead such a life. Later young man and his girlfriend were photographed by Harfouche’s reporters in Turkey, at a luxury resort.
This week Victor Yuchenko has made his annual income public to avoid further accusations. The chief of his staff Oleh Rybachuk told local media that last year the president made $12,000. The joint income of his wife Kateryna, daughters Sofiya and Khrystyna and son Taras slightly exceeds $40,000. The family also has about $200,000 in foreign bank accounts out of Ukraine. The issue of income declarations of Andriy Yushchenko, elder presidnt’s daughter Lina and the other adult members of the Yushchenko family is to be resolved by these people, Rybachuk said.