Nov 21, 2014 9:51 AM

Runaway Ukrainian billionaire given Serb passport

The Associated Press

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) Serbia says it will revoke its citizenship granted to Ukrainian businessman Sergei Kurchenko, sanctioned by the European Union and wanted in his country on embezzlement charges.

The Belgrade Blic daily said Friday that the billionaire media mogul and gas magnate was given a Serbian passport after an urgent immigration procedure.

However, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic's office says "proceedings have been initiated to revoke the citizenship" because it could complicate Serbia's accession negotiations with the EU.

Kurchenko was seen as close to former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. Kurchenko left Ukraine in February, around the time Yanukovych fled the country amid violent protests.

In March, Kurchenko was placed on the EU sanctions list that includes several other alleged allies of Yanukovych. It is not clear whether Kurchenko resides in Serbia.


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