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EU To Drop Sanctions On Two Yanukovych Associates

Serhiy Klyuyev stands in the session hall of the Verkhovna Rada in Kyiv in February 2014.
Serhiy Klyuyev stands in the session hall of the Verkhovna Rada in Kyiv in February 2014.

BRUSSELS -- European Union diplomats are set to prolong sanctions against former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych but abandon the punitive measures imposed on two of his associates -- one of whom was the proxy owner of a lavish estate outside Kyiv that became a symbol of Yanukovch's excesses after he was pushed from power in 2014.

EU diplomats who were not authorized to speak on the record told RFE/RL on February 20 that the EU has concluded that there was not enough evidence to keep Serhiy Klyuyev and former Justice Minister Olena Lukash on the list of people targeted with sanctions for alleged involvement in embezzlement of state funds under Yanukovych, who was elected in 2010.

Sanctions against the other 13 people remaining on the list will be prolonged for another year by EU ambassadors on February 21, the diplomats said.

They include Yanukovych, his son Oleksandr Yanukovych, former Prime Ministers Mykola Azarov and Serhiy Arbuzov, and Serhiy Klyuyev's brother Andriy, who was Yanukovych's chief of staff.

Shortly after the collapse of his government, the EU imposed asset freezes and other measures against Yanukovych and others who, according to the EU, "were responsible for the misappropriation of Ukrainian state funds or for abuse of office causing a loss to Ukrainian public funds."

Serhiy Klyuyev, a businessman and parliament member who formerly represented Yanukovych's Party of Regions, was the nominal owner of Mezhyhirya, the outlandishly outfitted Yanukovych residence outside Kyiv that was swarmed by Ukrainians after he fled.

It became a symbol of both his expensive tastes and the corruption that critics say marked his rule.

Klyuyev is believed to have fled Ukraine after being stripped of his parliamentary immunity in 2015.

With reporting by Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels
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