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Media: Lazarenko detained again due to uncertain status for staying in U.S.

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Nov. 2, 2012, 1:34 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko
© live.bete.tv

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko was detained again soon after his release from a U.S. prison, reads posting on the Web site kommersant.ua. 

According to the source, the ex-premier's lawyer Daniel Horowitz said that Lazarenko would remain in custody due to his uncertain status for staying in the United States."

It is expected that the ex-premier will remain at the detention facility in Sacramento until the U.S. authorities decide whether his stay should be legalized or he should be deported," the publication said.

Lazarenko's lawyer in Ukraine, Maryna Dovhopola, told Interfax-Ukraine that she did not have such information.

"I only know that he was released from prison. And I don't know yet what happened to him after that," she said.

As reported, Lazarenko, who spent more than 10 years in prison for fraud, was released from the U.S. Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Terminal Island in California on November 1, 2012.

According to kommersant.ua, the ex-premier does not have a valid visa or political asylum. However, he owns real estate in the U.S. and his wife and two children live in the country.

According to the source, this is not enough for the politician to legally stay in the U.S., as he does not have a valid residence permit or a Ukrainian passport for foreign trips.

"My client received permission to stay in the United States on the territory of a detention facility of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), where he will apply for permission to stay [in the U.S. as a free citizen] until the issues related to his security and a possibility of his assassination are settled," Horowitz said.

The ICE told kommersant.ua that Lazarenko has arrived at a detention facility for migrants in a small town of Adelanto more than 100 kilometers from Los Angeles. While staying at the detention facility, the ex-premier will be able to meet with his lawyers, officials, relatives and friends.

Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine (PGO) stated that as soon as Lazarenko returns to Ukraine he would be arrested. The ex-premier's lawyer said that Ukrainian investigators allege his involvement in around 50 cases, particularly bribery, appropriation of funds, and the abuse of power.

Lazarenko was convicted in the United States of embezzling illegally obtained funds and transferring them to foreign accounts in 1994-1999. A Californian court sentenced Lazarenko to nine years in prison in August 2006. He remained in his apartment in San Francisco under house arrest pending the consideration of the appeal against his conviction. In June 2011, Lazarenko's custody was shortened by seven months, to January 11, 2012.

It was reported in August 2011, citing Chris Burke, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, that Lazarenko is to be released from prison in the United States on November 1, 2012, rather than on January 11, 2012, as was planned earlier. On August 4, 2011, Lazarenko was transferred from the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Dublin (California) to FCI Terminal Island, a low-security prison for men (also in California).

The Ukrainska Pravda news web site has reported, citing a Terminal Island employee, that Lazarenko lived in an ordinary barracks, which houses up to 150 prisoners, and was not engaged in any labor activities.

According to Ukrainska Pravda, apart from serving his prison term, Lazarenko was held under house arrest for more than five years.

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