Lutsenko removed Yushchenko's portrait from his office

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Dec. 9, 2009, 8:05 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine
Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko has said that he is disappointed at the moral qualities of the head of state and removed the portrait of Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko from his office over a year ago. Lutsenko said at a press conference in Kyiv on Dec. 9t hat about a year ago Yushchenko had offered help to him after he had learned about the health problems of his son.

"He phoned me and asked how he could help me. I asked him to give me, for God's sake, two or three weeks so that prosecutors don't summon me after his calls. Next day when I came to Vienna to get my son operated on, Victor Andriyovych [Yushchenko] called to court and asked them to consider a motion on opening a case against me," he said.

He said that in opening such a criminal case, "there was a chance to dismiss Lutsenko from the post, and they 'were cleaning the stripes' of several candidates at that moment."

Lutsenko said that a "judge did everything legally" and that a decision on opening the case had not been taken.

"I said nothing to anybody, but simply removed the president's portrait, and I think that any talk about morality is unnecessary," he said.

He said that he had continued to fulfill presidential orders, but "the human attitude has fundamentally changed since then."

"I understood that he is a play-actor and artist, rather than a real manager and a man of principle," Lutsenko said.

Addressing the Dec. 9 meeting on combating corruption Yushchenko accused the attendees, in particular, Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko, representatives of the State Tax Administration, and the State Customs Service of backing up corruption.

German newspaper Bild reported early in May this year that German police had arrested Lutsenko and members of the Ukrainian delegation in a state of acute alcoholic intoxication at Frankfurt Airport. The 19-year-old son of Yuri Lutsenko, Oleksandr was allegedly drunk too, and police handcuffed him after he offered resistance.

Lutsenko was suspended as interior minister for a week when the parliament investigated the incident. He returned to work on May 27.

The newspaper on June 10 retracted allegations about the alcoholic intoxication of Lutsenko and his son at Frankfurt Airport.
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