Ukraine's ex-PM Questioned Over Funds

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian police say they have summoned former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych for questioning in connection with alleged mishandling of government funds.

Yanukovych was summoned to testify as a witness next Monday about alleged illegal government donations amounting to 4.8 million hryvnas ($ 1 million) for the overhaul of the airport in his eastern Ukrainian hometown of Donetsk, the Interior Ministry said in a statement posted on its official website.

Viktor Yanukovych

Yanukovych lost a bitterly-contested presidential election last year after the Supreme Court annulled his victory on grounds of massive fraud and ordered a revote that was won by pro-Western opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko.

Earlier this month Ukrainian prosecutors also questioned Yanukovych over the business dealings of Borys Kolesnikov, a jailed regional official, but no charges were brought.

Yanukovych, who heads the opposition Party of Regions was not available for comment on Thursday. He earlier described his appearance before investigators as "political persecution" of opposition leaders.

President Yushchenko, inaugurated in January, has pledged to crack down on corruption and government links to organised crime that plagued former President Leonid Kuchma's decade-long tenure.

Yushchenko has pointed to the pro-Russian Donetsk region, where hostility to him runs highest, as having one of the worst records of corruption.

Source: AAP


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