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Court okays arrest of fugitive Ukrainian MP

He will be put on international wanted lists shortly.

Court okays arrest of fugitive Ukrainian MP
Oleksandr Onishchenko

Kyiv's Solomyanskyy district court has authorised the detention and arrest of MP Oleksandr Onishchenko from the People's Will group, a deputy prosecutor-general and head of the Special Anticorruption Prosecutor's Office, Nazar Kholodnytskyy, has said on Facebook.

He added that Onishchenko would be put on national and international wanted lists shortly.

On 22 June, the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Special Anticorruption Prosecutor's Office identified the organisers of the scheme aimed at embezzlement during the extraction and sale of natural gas within the framework of joint venture agreements with Ukrhazdobycha, a gas extraction company, as a result of which the state incurred losses of about 3bn hryvnyas.

On 5 July, parliament authorised the detention and arrest of Onishchenko, the main suspect in the gas scheme. On 27 July, Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko signed a notice of suspicion for Onishchenko.

Using his parliament immunity, the MP left Ukraine. On 29 July, he said he was in London, where he applied for residence permit and political asylum.

On 2 August, he did not show up for the first questioning. A repeat no-show would mean he would be declared wanted, the NABU said. On 5 August, Onishchenko did not report to the NABU for questioning again.