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Interpol Explains Removal Of Yanukovych Figures From Public Wanted List

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych

Interpol says it has removed the names of several suspects from the time that former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was in power from its public wanted list in response to a legal complaint Yanukovych has filed.

Vasyl Nevolya, head of Ukraine's Interpol bureau, issued a statement on January 22 saying that information about the Yanukovych-era suspects remains available in Interpol's restricted-access databases.

He said Yanukovych's lawyers had filed a complaint in a French court and with Interpol's control commission asking for the investigation against the suspects to be dropped, leading Interpol to restrict access until the complaint is resolved.

Earlier in the day, Ukrainian anticorruption activists noted that Yanukovych, former Prime Minister Mikolay Azarov, former Finance Minister Yuriy Kolobov, and others seemed to have been removed from Interpol's wanted list.

Most are wanted on a variety of corruption and abuse-of-office charges.

Vitaliy Shabunin, head of the Anticorruption Action Center, wrote on Facebook: "Now these monsters can easily enjoy life, for example, on the Cote d'Azur in France."

Interpol placed 12 Yanukovych-era figures on its wanted list in January 2015, most of them with a "red notice," indicating an extradition request. The listing came almost one year after the suspects fled Ukraine under pressure from the Euromaidan mass protests.

In July 2015, Yanukovych himself was removed from the wanted list after he argued before Interpol that the case against him was politically motivated.

Yanukovych and most of the other suspects are currently believed to be in Russia.

With reporting by The Kyiv Post and the International Business Times
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