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August 20, 2013 22:25

Former Ukrainian swimming star confirms his prosecution in Liberia

KYIV. Aug 20 (Interfax) - Former Ukrainian world champion in swimming Oleg Lisogor (Oleh Lisohor) has confirmed that Liberian authorities have opened a criminal case against him on charges of kidnapping and felonious restraint, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry reported.

"An embassy official had one more conversation with Lisogor, who confirmed the fact that the local authorities had opened a criminal case against him on suspicion of restraining a citizen of Ukraine in Monrovia," Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Yevhen Perebyinis said at a news conference in Kyiv on Tuesday.

Court hearings on the merits of the case will be started next week, Perebyinis said.

Lisogor said he had a lawyer and rejected the charges brought against him, which are based merely on a report by Ukrainian Ivan Slipchenko.

"At the present time, Lisogor is in his premises in Liberia," Perebyinis said with reference to the ex-athlete himself.

Preliminary reports indicate that Slipchenko had been detained by Liberian police on suspicion of involvement in financial fraud and, after being released, expressed the wish to stay in Liberia and find another job.

The Foreign Ministry stressed that all this information came from Lisogor himself and could not be confirmed officially at the time.

"Our diplomatic office in Senegal has forwarded a note to Liberia, asking to be promptly informed on this issue," Perebyinis said.

The Liberian newspaper Heritage reported on its website on Monday that the Liberia National Police arrested two Ukrainians, including Lisogor, on charges of kidnapping and restraining their fellow-countryman. The report said Lisogor had been acting together with his business partner Mykola Chernyshov, both residents of Monrovia, and Slipchenko was working at a casino there. The report says Lisogor and Chernyshov kidnapped Slipchenko and confined him for nine days after learning that he had criminal ties in Ukraine and were seeking to have him sent home.

The Foreign Ministry said later that Lisogor had denied this information.

Lisogor took part in three Olympic Games and was a record holder in the 50 meters breaststroke long course.


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