Ukraine's ex-premier Lazarenko to be released from prison on November 1
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko is to be released from the U.S. Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Terminal Island in California on November 1. Lazarenko spent more than ten years there for financial fraud.
One of Lazarenko's lawyers, Viktor Chevhuz, told the Segodnya daily newspaper that the ex-premier would go to his U.S. estate from prison.
"Of course, he will stay there with his wife Oksana [Lazarenko's second wife] and their two children. They are looking forward to seeing him. His first task is to choose a place of residence. And after that he will decide what to do," the lawyer said.
Lazarenko's defense lawyers do not rule out that their client will remain under the supervision of the U.S. law enforcers even after his release, as the issue on his residence remains unsettled.
"He said he would return to Ukraine, but he still has to complete some legal procedures in the U.S. Probably, the date of his return will be announced in a few days," the ex-premier's lawyer, Maryna Dovhopola, told the newspaper.
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 abuse of power.
Earlier, Interfax-Ukraine reported that Dovhopola did not know when the ex-premier would return to Ukraine. However, she said that he would return for sure.
"Pavlo Lazarenko will come back Ukraine. I can't give a precise date of his return," she said at the press conference in Kyiv on Wednesday.
Dolhopola also said her client did not know when he would return to Ukraine. According to her, Lazarenko said that he would come back, "when the political situation improves", wishing his case to be considered by an unprejudiced inquiry and trial.
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).