Interpol Catches Russian Wanted In Ukraine

BELGRADE, Serbia -- Serbian border police caught a Russian businessman wanted in Ukraine since he bought a big stake in a Black Sea shipyard, after a chase across Europe, Cuba and Jamaica, Ukraine's interior ministry said on Friday.


It now expects Igor Churkin to be extradited to Ukraine from Serbia after he was apprehended at Belgrade Airport on an Interpol warrant to answer Ukrainian accusations that his acquisition of a 90 percent stake in the shipyard was illegal.

Ukraine's privatisation agency accuses Churkin of buying the Black Sea shipyard illegally in 2003 by "misleading" the agency through what they called fictitious companies registered in Britain and Canada and talks with another bidder in the privatisation process.

The deal was worth 120 million hryvnias ($24 million now).

Interpol had tracked Churkin to Brussels at the beginning of October but found that he had already flown to Cuba and then to Jamaica, where a search found he had disappeared once again.

"However, on Dec. 4, Igor Churkin was stopped at passport control of Belgrade airport as he was trying to enter Serbia," the ministry said in a statement. "... Interpol in Ukraine is preparing documents ... to proceed with his extradition."

Ukrainian courts have overturned a number of state sell-offs that took place at the start of the decade in opaque conditions, the largest of which was a steel mill later resold for $4.8 billion after an initial sale for $800 million.

Source: Javno

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