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Former Ukrainian President Yushchenko Suspected In Corruption Surrounding Residential Complex

Viktor Yushchenko was president of Ukraine from 2005 to 2010. (file photo)

KYIV -- Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has been served on charges of suspected abuse of power and possession of state property in what investigators call the illegal privatization of a residential complex near Kyiv that served as a residence for his prime minister and successor Viktor Yanukovych.

The spokeswoman for the Prosecutor-General's Office, Larysa Sarhan, said on June 6 that Yushchenko had been formally informed both by mail and in person that he is suspected in the "misappropriation, embezzlement of property or seizure of it via abuse of office" with regard to the Mezhyhirya Residence.

According to Sarhan, Yushchenko, who was president from 2005 to 2010, is suspected in assisting Yanukovych to illegally privatize the property worth 540 million hryvnyas ($19.7 million).

Neither Yuschchenko nor his lawyers have commented on the charges.

Mezhyhirya, a lavish residence outside Kyiv, used to be a state property before it was privatized in 2007 by a businessman linked to Yanukovych, who succeeded Yushchenko in 2010.

In February 2014, Yanukovych fled the country following the violent anti-government protests known as Euromaidan.

The 350-acre Mezhyhirya site has since been turned into a national park and museum.