Spanish authorities arrest Yuriy Kolobov, former Ukrainian finance minister

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Kolobov (pictured) served under President Viktor Yanukovich.
Image: "Справедливість. Анна Безулик".

Yuriy Kolobov, the former finance minister of Ukraine has been arrested in Spain on charges of fraud and embezzlement. Kolobov was wanted, along with former President Viktor Yanukovych, accused of fraud which cost Ukraine billions of dollars in assets. The Spanish civil guard arrested him on Wednesday, at a flat in Altea, in the Province of Alicante.

A brief statement from the Ukrainian interior ministry said: "We confirm the information that [Mr Kolobov] has been detained." No comment was made by Spain's interior ministry. A judge at Spain's High Court will question Kolobov, before dealing with the extradition process. Kolobov, 41, is the first member of Yanukovich's administration to be arrested on charges relating to fraud. The current Ukrainian government continue efforts to recover lost assets. The Interim Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, told parliament that Yanukovich has left Ukraine with $75 billion of debt.

Interpol issued warrants for Yanukovich, Kolobov, and former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov. It is doubtful Yanukovich, who is now in Russia, could be extradited back to Ukraine. Kolobov previously held the position of deputy head of Ukraine's central bank, before being selected as Finance minister in 2012.