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Ukraine's former arms export chief said out on bail in London

The High Court is to decide on his extradition.

Ukraine's former arms export chief said out on bail in London
Serhiy Bondarchuk
Photo: Dmytro Alekseyenko

A former head of Ukraine's arms export trader Ukrspetseksport, Serhiy Bondarchuk, who is accused of large-scale embezzlement and faces extradition to Ukraine, has posted bail and should not leave London until a court schedules a date for hearings on his extradition, according to Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko's press secretary Larysa Sarhan.

"Serhiy Bondarchuk, the ex-head of Ukrspetseksport, was arrested on 15 March and released on bail, as is stipulated by British law. By posting bail, Mr Bondarchuk can comfortably drink tea with milk until 24 March, not leaving London. 24 March is the day for a court sitting that will decide on a date for hearings on his extradition," she wrote.

Lutsenko earlier announced that Bondarchuk had been detained in London.

"Bondarchuk was arrested under the Extradition Act 2003 on 15 March 2017, pursuant to the full order extradition request made by Ukraine," the Extradition Section of the UK Home Office's International Criminality Unit wrote in a letter addressed to First Secretary of the Embassy of Ukraine in the UK Oleh Humenyuk.

Bondarchuk appeared before a District Judge at Westminster Magistrates Court on 15 March and 16 March and was granted conditional bail until 24 March, the letter informed. As UNIAN reported earlier, Bondarchuk was announced wanted by the Division for Combating Organized Crime of the Interior Ministry's Main Department in Kyiv on 16 February 2015. He is suspected of committing crime under Part 5 of Article 191 of the Criminal Code ("appropriation, embezzlement of property on an especially large scale"). On 21 January 2015, the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office notified Bondarchuk that he was suspected of misappropriating more than 7.4m dollars in Ukrspetseksport's funds, which was followed by a court order for his detention. However, on 28 January, Ukrspetseksport's former CEO was reported to have disappeared.

On 15 June 2015, Interpol put Bondarchuk on the international wanted list.

It became known in May 2016 that he had applied for political asylum in the United Kingdom. Bondarchuk was managing Ukrspecexport from 2005 to 2010, during the whole term of presidency of former Ukrainian leader Viktor Yushchenko, who awarded him the Hero of Ukraine title.