Switzerland Launches Money Laundering Probe Against Ousted Ukraine Leader

Geneva prosecutors initiate an investigation against Viktor Yanukovych and his son Aleksander

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Switzerland has ordered a freeze of all funds in the country belonging to ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych or his allies, as authorities launch a corruption investigation into the former leader and his son.

Geneva’s chief prosecutor Yves Bertossa and members of the financial police searched a company owned by Aleksander Yanukovych on Thursday, part of an investigation into “aggravated money laundering” according to a statement by the prosecutor’s office. “Documents were seized,” the statement said, adding that no further details about the probe will be provided.

The Swiss government also ordered the country’s financial institutions to freeze assets belonging to Yanukovych and those associated with him, the Associated Press reports, saying it was an attempt to “prevent any risk of misappropriation of Ukrainian government property.” Authorities have not disclosed how much money Yanukovych has in Switzerland.

After signing a deal late last week to end violent clashes between police and protesters in Kiev, Yanukovych fled the Ukrainian capital and has apparently been under Russian protection. Ukraine’s interim Interior Minister Arsen Avakov issued a warrant for Yanukovych’s arrest on Monday on a charge of  “mass murder of peaceful civilians.” Yanukovych insists he is still the legitimate president of Ukraine and that people in the eastern and southeastern regions will not accept “lawlessness in the country, when the heads of ministries are appointed by the mob.”