Mikheil Saakashvili: Detention and unexpected release

5 December 2017, 19:36

In the morning of December 5, law enforcers arrived to conduct a search at the downtown Kyiv apartment rented by Mikheil Saakashvili, the ex-Governor of Odesa Oblast and the leader of the Movement of New Forces, his political movement/party. Following the investigative actions, the Security Bureau of Ukraine (SBU) jointly with the Prosecutor General’s Office detained Mr. Saakashvili under the criminal case (Art 256.1 of the Criminal Code: see details below). Activists tried to set up barricades in front of the building where Saakashvili lives. Clashes between his supporters and law enforcers followed.

Later, the activists pulled Saakashvili out of the SBU van. Surrounded by a crowd, he addressed his supporters and walked up to the Parliament with them.

Case detailsYuriy Lutsenko, Prosecutor General of Ukraine, announced at a press briefing earlier today that Georgia’s ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili funded his events in Ukraine with the money obtained from the criminal group of Viktor Yanukovych, including Serhiy Kurchenko.

“It has been established that a person close to Saakashvili, in particular Ukrainian citizen Sevarion Dongadze, in agreement with Saakashvili himself, proposed Serhiy Kurchenko who is hiding from the Ukrainian law enforcement in Moscow (through a trusted person) to establish regular funding for Saakashvili’s activities in exchange for the [protection of] the interests of this criminal group. We have recorded the receipt of nearly $500,000 by Saakasvhili’s circle from the Russian side, of which about half was given to Severion Dongadze under the supervision of Ukrainian special services. This means that the numbers of the bills and the transfer of the operation were recorded,” Lutsenko said.

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He added that several Ukrainians based in Moscow cooperated with Ukraine. They provided undisclosed testimony for this criminal case. Also, Lutsenko disclosed the recorded conversation of Saakashvili and, allegedly, “Yanukovych’s man” Kurchenko.

During their search in the apartment of Severion Dangadze, the leader of the Kyiv Oblast section of the Movement of New Forces, found Saakashvili’s passport. According to Saakasvhili, it has been missing ever since he crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border. Georgia’s ex-president has been claiming that the passport has been with President Poroshenko or Interior Minister Avakov all this time.

Detention of activists. During the clashes between Saakashvili’s supporters and law enforcers in downtown Kyiv, the police detailed nine people and delivered them to local police stations. Some of the detained people have already been released.

Meanwhile, Kyiv Prosecutor’s Office launched criminal proceedings on MPs that were interfering with the activities of the police detaining Saakasvhili. So far, the prosecutors have not disclosed the names of the MPs. They say that they will wait until the investigation based on the available video materials is completed.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has called on Saakashvili and his supporters to refrain from provocations and clashes: “Any conflict has lawful solutions. Until there is a court verdict, the things that are going on now will not have a solution. Saakasvhili must stick to the requirements of the law, go through a lawful procedure and face the allegations,” he claimed.

Saakashvili’s response. Georgia’s ex-president described the allegations of his ties to people from Yanukovych’s circle by Yuriy Lutsenko “total lies”.

“I have no idea who this is. It’s total lies and a fake,” he claimed. 

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