Criminal case against “witness” in Shcherban murder investigation closed


Eugene Shcherban, murdered in 1996

The influential weekly newspaper Dzerkalo Tyzhnya reports that the Pechersky District Court in Kyiv has terminated criminal investigations against a former adviser to Pavlo Lazarenko, Petro Kyrychenko and has unfrozen his assets.  This, the newspaper reports, came soon after Kyrychenko’s testimony appeared in the case around the 1996 murder of Eugene Shcherban, a Donetsk MP and businessman whom the Prosecutor General and his deputy are very loudly accusing  imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko of being behind.  Kyrychenko claimed that there were close relations between Yulia Tymoshenko and Lazarenko.

Kyrychenko was a key witness for the prosecution against Lazarenko in the US court.  His agreement to testify against Lazarenko protected him for prosecution, however his assets in Ukraine were frozen.

Two criminal cases had been initiated against Kyrychenko in Ukraine and one against his wife, and three apartments belonging to Kyrychenko, and office premises, were under the property arrest order.  His frozen assets also included 1.5 million USD, held by the Prosecutor General’s Office.

In September 2011 Izabella Kyrychenko arrived in Kyiv to sell the apartments which had supposedly been unfrozen. Instead the woman who has undergone surgery for cancer was locked in a SIZO [remand prison] for three months and then spent a month under house arrest.

According to Dzerkalo Tyzhnya’s source, this coincided with the appearance of her husband’s testimony about the supposedly close relations between Tymoshenko and Lazarenko.

On 22 August 2012 the decision to initiate a criminal case against Izabella Kyrychenko was cancelled. She ceased being suspected of “an attempt to bribe officials of the Prosecutor General’s Office in order to get property unfrozen so as to sell it”.

Petro Kyrychenko also faced charges in the Lazarenko case, with criminal investigations initiated in 1995-1996 over alleged embezzlement of state property on a particular large scale through abuse of his official position, as well as alleged unlawful purchase and possession of firearms.

The Pechersky District Court would also seem to have terminated the criminal case against Petro Kyrychenko on account of it being “time-barred”.  Criminal liability has been waived, the flats are no longer under arrest and his money has been returned.

As reported, the Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka has now joined his deputy Rinat Kuzmin in very publicly accusing Yulia Tymoshenko of ordering the murder of Eugene Shcherban. 

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