Ukrainian anti-corruption prosecutors are checking reports that parliamentarian Oleksandr Onyschenko has been granted Russian citizenship, and requested legal assistance from the Russian authorities for his subsequent extradition, chief anti-corruption prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytsky wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday.
"We are checking information about Ukrainian people's deputy Onyschenko having received a passport of a Russian Federation citizen. So, without waiting for an Interpol decision, today, I, as a senior prosecutor and head of proceedings, approved and sent a request for international legal assistance to the Russian Federation authorities for the purpose of his subsequent extradition to Ukraine," Kholodnytsky said.
For his part, Onyshchenko denied receiving Russian citizenship in a commentary to the Ukrayinska Pravda. When asked whether he was granted Russian citizenship the Ukrainian parliamentarian said: "Of course [I was] not."
He said that he was currently in London.
In Ukraine Onyschenko is suspected of organizing a scheme to steal money from the natural gas production and sale projects with Ukrgazvydobuvannia, resulting in around UAH 3 billion in losses to the state.
The Ukrainian parliament agreed to his arrest and prosecution. However, Onyschenko, using his parliamentary status, left the country the day before.
On August 8, he was placed on the national wanted list.
On August 10, the country's national anti-corruption bureau sent relevant documentation to Interpol asking it to declare Onyschenko an international fugitive.