Escaped Former Ukrainian MP Shepelev Put on Interpol's Wanted List

Jul 09, 2014, 14:55 ET from Worldwide News Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine, July 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

Ukraine placed former MP Oleksandr Shepelev, who recently escaped from custody, on the international wanted list. This was announced by the Head of National Central Bureau Kyiv, Interpol Ukraine, Vasyl Nevolia. On July 6, Oleksandr Shepelev fled Kyiv city hospital, where he was previously transferred to from prison due to allegedly deteriorating health.    

Oleksandr Shepelev, connected with Ukraine's political establishment, was accused of embezzling public funds allocated for the Rodovid bank recapitalization (USD 300 million), in murder of Donetsk banker Serhiy Kirichenko, and organizing the attempted murder of a key witness in the Rodovid case. While plotting and committing these crimes, Shepelev enjoyed the patronage of former Ukrainian authorities.

According to the Kyiv City Prosecutor Serhiy Yuldashev, Shepelev has already fled Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry is now investigating the circumstances surrounding Shepelev's escape from custody. So far, two guards who allowed Shepelev to flee have been detained. The heads of Kyiv city detention center and city's medical service unit were dismissed from their posts. Moreover, the Ukrainian General Prosecutor's Office has launched a criminal investigation against Shepelev's doctors, who falsified his health certificates.

In 2012, Shepelev faced criminal charges, making it on the international wanted list in January 2013. On March 26, 2014, Hungary extradited Shepelev and his wife, where they had escaped with fake passports. 

The Ukrainian government, formed after the Euromaidan Revolution of Dignity, is struggling to reform justice and law enforcement institutions badly undermined by the Yanukovych regime and its predecessors.

Another example of ineffective Ukrainian law enforcement is the recent release of another former MP - Viktor Lozynskyi - convicted of murder in 2009. In 2011, Lozynskyi was sentenced to 15 years in prison. However, in June 2014 he was released from prison due to alleged ill-health. After the involvement of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenuk, Lozynskyi was returned into custody.

The temporarily weakened Ukrainian government seeks EU's assistance in countering corruption. On June 23, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkyavichus reported that the Council of the EU approved a two-year police mission to Ukraine. The mission will assist in internal affairs and security services reform in the Eastern European country.

SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine