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Ukraine Probes Ex-Chief Prosecutor Lutsenko On Gambling Charges


Yuriy Lutsenko pictured in September 2018.

Ukrainian investigators say they have launched a criminal probe into former Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko over alleged ties to illegal gambling operations.

A state investigation bureau spokeswoman on October 1 said criminal proceedings had been opened “over suspicions of abuse of power and malfeasance” in Lutsenko’s office “by facilitating illegal gambling businesses."

Lutsenko, who left his post in August, denied any wrongdoing, saying on his Facebook page that "you need to have a rich imagination" to accuse him of links to illegal gambling.

Lutsenko's name appeared in a whistle-blower report about U.S. President Donald Trump and his dealings with Ukraine. The complaint against Lutsenko did not indicate a connection with the U.S. case.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have begun an impeachment inquiry against Trump, accusing him of improperly pressuring Kyiv to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and son Hunter, who had business dealings in Ukraine.

The inquiry was prompted by a whistle-blower's account that in a July 25 telephone call Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate the Bidens. During the call, Trump praised Lutsenko as a good prosecutor and suggested he keep his position.

Investigators in Kyiv opened the case against Lutsenko following a request by a senior lawmaker in Zelenskiy’s party. Authorities are required to open cases if asked to by members of parliament.

Lutsenko served in his post from 2016-19. He resigned in August after newly elected President Zelenskiy said he wanted the prosecutor-general to be "100 percent my person, my candidate."

With reporting by Reuters, Interfax Ukraine, and AFP
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