Russia Doesn't Arrest Internationally Wanted Citizen of Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko accused Russia on Thursday of providing “refuge with impunity” to a figure “who symbolizes the plundering” of Ukraine. The sharp statement was made by Lutsenko after former head of the management of the presidential administration Igor Bakai, sought internationally by Ukraine on criminal charges, was detained and then released this week in Moscow.

Igor Bakai

Bakai is accused by the prosecutor general of Kiev of abuses of office causing material loss to the state. Those offences are punishable in Ukraine by a prison term of seven to ten years. Bakai held that office from October 2003 to December 2004. From 1998 to 2000, he had been chairman of the board of the state Naftogaz Ukrainy and he was a presidential adviser from 1997 to 2000. In 1998, he was elected to the Supreme Rada.

Lutsenko, while on a two-day official visit to Georgia, told journalists that he had been informed of the arrest of Bakai in Moscow, whom Ukraine declared wanted in May of this year. Lutsenko said that he had received word from the coordinating of the CIS Department for the Fight against Organized Crime that Bakai had been arrested the previous Tuesday evening in Moscow and taken to the police station in the Krylatskoe neighborhood. He was released four hours later for unknown reasons. On Wednesday, the Ukrainian bureau of Interpol demanded an explanation of the Russian Interior Ministry for the release of the former high official. Speaking on Thursday, Lutsenko said that no response had been received to that enquiry. He said that he was “very disappointed” and that “for us, the name Bakai is a symbol of the plunder of the state.”

The Russian and Ukrainian Interior Ministries refused to comment to Kommersant the same day. “The Ministry has no information about the arrest of Bakai in Russia,” acting head of the Russian Ministry of the Interior Ivan Cherdokliev said. The press service of the Main Department of Internal Affairs of Moscow was less categorical. There they admitted that Bakai had been taken into custody at the Krylatskoe station on Tuesday. They were not ale to explain why he had been released, however, saying that “That is not our level.”

Kommersant has information that Bakai was taken into custody at the request of the CIS Department for the Fight against Organized Crime at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday. Witnesses said that “immediately after his detention at the local station, calls began coming in from the very top” demanding his release because he is a citizen of the Russian Federation and Russia has no claims against him. Bakai's Russian passport was presented at the station several hours later. He was then released.

Source: Kommersant