Former Head of the State Committee for the State Material Reserve Mykhailo Pozhyvanov has said he is ready to seek political asylum in Austria if he is put on the international wanted list.
"I was told that this week I could be put on the international wanted list... If that happens, I will definitely seek political asylum," he said in an interview with the Ukrainian Service of the BBC.
He said that "opponents in Ukraine are being politically persecuted" and that under such conditions he is afraid of returning to Ukraine.
Pozhyvanov said that he had not yet asked for political asylum in Austria, but he did not rule out that certain circumstances could make him do so.
He also said that the investigating authorities had not provided any details to his lawyer about the charges brought against him.
As reported, the main investigation department of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has opened a criminal case against Pozhyvanov. Criminal proceedings were instituted under Part 5, Article 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine as a part of the investigation of criminal cases involving the embezzlement of over UAH 7 billion in public funds, including those exposed by international auditing firms during checks on the use of budgetary funds by the Ukrainian government in 2008-2009 and the first quarter of 2010.
Pozhyvanov was also charged with the embezzlement of nearly UAH 35 million in state funds.
Pozhyvanov was put on the wanted list. He said in an interview with the Hazeta Po-Kyivsky newspaper that he was currently in Austria.
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