One of my favourite characters in Ukrainian politics is a high-profile opposition politician with unrivalled experience in the country's crime-fighting agencies, Hennadiy Moskal. This straight-talking man is respected and perhaps feared, because knows 'everything about everyone'...
He recently gave an extensive and revealing interview to 'Ukrainska Pravda'.
His comments to the killing of Yevhen Shcherban in November 1996 are worthy of serious consideration.
He gives short shrift to the first two witnesses who gave evidence in the pre-trial hearings into this sensational murder case . As I've posted previously, the first witness, Maryinkov had close business interests with highly placed criminal investigators - he was also the 'armourer' for a criminal gang. His so-called evidence cannot be treated seriously.
The second, Zaitsev, is similarly unreliable - he had a host of criminal cases hanging over his head.
Prosecutors are trying to lump Lazarenko and Tymoshenko 'into one whole'. Moskal rightly explains she was a just a smart businesswoman, whilst he was a powerful regional politician and a highly placed state official - PM, no less. There was a total mismatch in terms of the power each could wield.
These two witnesses Maryinkov and Zaitsev claim they were ordered to remain silent by previous prosecutor-generals about Tymoshenko's now-alleged involvement in the Yevhen Shcherban murder - hence for over a decade and a half her name never figured in any investigation - until now.
If this is true then surely these prosecutors from the mid nineties and early noughties should be brought to account for allegedly suppressing evidence and interfering with the investigation into one of the highest profile murders in the country's history, says Moskal.
Tymoshenko was a hostile opposition leader for many years prior to the Orange Revolution...if there was a case against her, this would have been the time when it would have surfaced.
Moskal also claims that from his sources, the third witness at the pre-trial hearing, Volodymyr Shcherban, governor of Donetsk oblast at the time when Yehven Scherban was murdered, was the prime suspect in the attempted assassination of Pavlo Lazarenko in July 1996. Lazarenko had been appointed PM by president Kuchma just a few weeks prior to this.
Lazarenko was being driven to Kyiv's airport on his way to Donetsk when his car was blown up. He survived and flew to the city later that day, his clothes allegedly still covered in blood...
Moskal claims that once Lazarenko was out of favour Kuchma 'pulled the plug' on the massive investigation on the attempt on Lazarenko's life.
In his evidence, witness Volodymyr Shcherban revealed that a few days before Yevhen Scherban's death, he and his namesake met up. Yevhen told Volydymyr that someone was trying to kill him. As regional governor, Volodymyr would have had immediate access to the head of police, security services, prosecutors...even a hot-line to the president himself. But what did Volodymyr say to the victim - the most important businessman in Ukraine at that time? He said: "Why don't you just fly to America, until all this blows over..." perhaps even knowing that Yevhen would do no such thing. Why did the regional governor not tighten security around Yevhen Shcherban, or at least order a watchful eye to be placed over him?
As I have stated many times, after his death Yevhen Shcherban's assets were very quickly 'divvied up' between his so-called friends and business associates. In the case of Volodymyr Shcherban in a matter of days....
p.s. Moskal's official website here
[More to follow on this interview later]