The farcical trial of former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko is drawing to its end.
On Monday the accused was given the opportunity to address the court. In his statement he made several sensational accusations against the president and members of PoR.
He claims he was systematically threatened when he was in the minister's chair and recounted one case where Yanukovych's spokesperson Hannah Herman warned him in parliament: "You will be imprisoned and will get to know what prison is [like]."
He claimed than in four years as Interior Minister he did not even benefit from the use of an apartment provided by the state; and unlike nearly all of his top banana predecessors, prosecutors etc., he did not "privatise" a state dacha in swanky suburbs for himself. One of the cases against Lutsenko alleges he illicitly provided an apartment for his driver.
But the most sensation accusation he directed at president Yanukovych, who after his appointment as PM under president Yushchenko, requested Lutsenko 'back-off' from the pursuit of major crime bosses.
The following from 'Kommersant'
"Yanukovych gave me some flowers and said:" We need to talk together. In the evening the three of us - me, Yanukovych and a driver drive to Mezhyhirya, which had not then been 'privatized'. With music playing, the PM says to me: "Just don't go after Sasha." I ask him, "Which Sasha?". And he says, "Don't pretend [you don't know]... Sasha Melnyk". This guy, Melnyk a.ka. Melya is no.21 on the "For Yanukovych " bloc list in the Crimean parliament. He's the leader of the [300-member (F.N.)] organized criminal gang [Seilem], responsible for about 45 murders. I replied to the PM, "Viktor Fedorovych, there's a game - cops and robbers. Well I'm the cop". He thought I was kidding."
Alexander Melnyk was arrested on September 29, 2006, but was released on October 2 and soon left Ukraine. He returned to the country on December 13, 2006, just a few days after Lutsenko was sacked by a parliamentary motion initiated by the Party of Regions.
Lutsenko claimed the current deputy prosecutor general Renat Kuzmin was wholly responsible for Alexander Melnyk's evasion of justice. "Kuzmin signed arrest warrants for two gang members, but not for the boss. After his 72 hours of detention has expired, he was released, and [he headed] straight to Boryspil [airport]".
"Having all the evidence connecting the gang to murders, including that of a policeman, deputy presecutor general Renat Kuzmin...releases the man who Yanukovych shelters - the head of the organised crime gang."
Lutsenko also accused Kuzmin of 'rehabilitating' another of Ukraine's most notorious crime bosses, Givi Nemsadze, whose gang of 50 or more gangsters allegedly committed over 100 killings. [Nemsadze says: "It was my brother what did all them murders...nothing to do with me..."]
Incidentally, much of this is not new. An excerpt from Wikileaks:
"Lutsenko told Ambassador November 17  that he had been shocked that the General Prosecutor's Office (GPO) had refused to file charges against Melnyk, who in the 1990s had led the "Seilem" gang responsible for 52 contract murders, including: one journalist; two policemen; 30 businessmen; and 15 OC competitors.
Ukrainian authorities had lured Melnyk from Moscow back to Ukraine this fall after a journalist wrote an article suggesting Melnyk was afraid of Lutsenko. Melnyk was arrested upon arrival, but after GPO non-action and Melnyk's release October 3, he fled back to Moscow. Lutsenko alleged Melnyk was behind the March 1 firebomb attempt of Budzhurova's house. Melnyk's sister Svetlana Verba served as Crimea's Economics Minister, noted Prytula.
And Ihor Lukashev, who chaired the Crimean Rada budget committee, is known as the "wallet" of Melnyk's "Seilem" gang." [More on the Wikileaks link...]
p.s. Head of EC Delegation to Ukraine Jose Manuel Pinto Teixeira today confirmed that EU leaders are refusing to meet with President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych - he has become an outcast. He suggested that this may continue whilst Tymoshenko, Lutsenko, and other opposition leaders remain in jail.
About time too...what normal person would want to have anything to do with such thugs..