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    CHERNOMYRDIN READY TO BE QUESTIONED BY U.S. JUSTICE ON LAZARENKO - RIA NOVOSTI INTERVIEW

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    KIEV, JANUARY 29 (RIA NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT VIKTOR DEMIDENKO) - The Russian ambassador to Ukraine, Viktor Chernomyrdin is ready to be questioned by American justice on the case of ex-Ukrainian Premier Pavel Lazarenko, seized in the United States on suspicion of big financial machinations.

    "Let them come, if they want, and we'll have a talk," Chernomyrdin told RIA Novosti. He noted that, for the time being, he has not got any evidence requests from American lawyers on Lazarenko, under investigation in the United States.

    The American authorities suspect Lazarenko of financial machinations and laundering over 700 million dollars through American banks. The Ukrainian ex-premier was detained in the United States in the spring of 1999 and is being kept in a prison in California.

    In early January, en route to the American resort Palm Beach, Russian senator Andrei Vavilov was questioned on Lazarenko by FBI officers in California. After that, Vavilov said the Americans were going to question Viktor Chernomyrdin on the same case.

    Chernomyrdin said he sees no grounds for being linked with the Lazarenko case.

    "Lazarenko was the head of the Ukrainian cabinet when I was heading the Russian one. This did not last long and I did not know him much," Chernomyrdin said.

    The ambassador stressed that he had nothing in common, and could not have anything, with the former Ukrainian prime minister because he did not use the methods of Lazarenko.

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