Akhmetov Tagged as Suspect in Attempted Murder Case

KIEV, Ukraine -- A top Ukrainian law enforcement official has tagged Ukraine's richest man as a suspect in a shooting that occurred in the east of Ukraine almost 20 years ago.

The development signals apparent attempts by Ukraine's new administration to shift its criminal investigations into higher gear, especially those involving prominent - and once considered untouchable - political opponents who allegedly committed crimes under the nation's previous leadership.

Billionaire Rinat Akhmetov

Donetsk tycoon Rinat Akhmetov, who remains outside Ukraine at an unknown location, has denied involvement in the shooting through statements issued by his principle holding company, System Capital Management, and a law firm based in Washington D.C. that represents him.

In an interview published on July 20, one day after Akhmetov failed to show up for questioning at the Interior Ministry, Deputy Interior Minister Hennady Moskal said that a criminal case was likely to be launched soon in connection with an incident in Donetsk dating back to 1988. During the incident, an alleged crime figure nicknamed Botsman was shot, but survived. Botsman, a.k.a. Serhiy Chernyshev, now resides in Moscow.

Citing Moskal, Kyiv-based Internet publication Glavred.info reported that Akhmetov has been fingered as the suspect in the shooting. Moskal's words confirm news reports, spread by Ukrainian media in recent days, citing informed sources linking Akhmetov to the crime.

Source: Kyiv Post