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    Ukrainian Court Releases Jailed Ex-Minister

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    The Kiev Court of Appeals mitigated the former defense minister’s five-year jail sentence and released him on Tuesday, the UNIAN news agency said.

    The Kiev Court of Appeals mitigated the former defense minister’s five-year jail sentence and released him on Tuesday, the UNIAN news agency said.

    On April 12, Kiev’s Pechersky district court sentenced Valeriy Ivashchenko, who served as acting defense minister in 2009-2010, to five years in prison for abuse of office.

    The court ruled to “exempt Ivashchenko from his penalty with a one-year probation period.”

    Ivashchenko was arrested in August 2010 over his alleged involvement in the illegal privatization of a shipbuilding plant in the Crimean port of Feodosiya, which caused an estimated $8.8 million in damages to Ukraine’s budget.

    Some observers have speculated that Ivashchenko’s trial was part of what they described as President Viktor Yanukovych’s crackdown on his political opponents.

    He became the fourth imprisoned ex-minister from the government of Yulia Tymoshenko, along with the former prime minister, ex-interior minister Yury Lutsenko and ex-environment minister Georgy Filipchuk.

     

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