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Melnychenko to depart from Italy to US on Aug. 21

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Aug. 20, 2012, 7:42 p.m. | Politics — by Interfax-Ukraine

Ukrainian Mykola Melnychenko (C), a former bodyguard to Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, and Aleksander Yeliashkievich (R) former Ukrainian Parliament deputy are seen in Warsaw, 17 November 2004 as they give a press conference and show a film about electoral discrepancies during the 1999 presidential elections in Ukraine. Melnychenko secretly recorded conversations in the office of President Kuchma from 1998 to 2000.
© AFP

Mykola Melnychenko, a former officer from the Department of the State Guard of Ukraine, will depart from Italy for the United States on Tuesday, Aug. 21.

"Tomorrow I am departing for the United States from Italy. I am stating that I've never been hiding from fair justice. I am ready to cooperate with investigators in the United States and Ukraine!" he wrote on his page in Facebook on Monday, Aug. 20.

As reported, Melnychenko has the status of refugee and is under the witness protection program in the United States.

In November 2000, a tape scandal broke out in Ukraine after the parliament revealed audio recordings allegedly made by Melnychenko at the office of then president Leonid Kuchma. Melnychenko was charged with divulging a state secret, exceeding powers and using forged documents.

In September 2011, Melnychenko was put on a wanted list. A court in Kyiv ordered his remand into custody since Melnychenko skipped his bail and absconded.

Melnychenko was arrested in Italy on August 3. On August 14, an appellate court in Naples decided to release him.

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