Dominican court orders ex-Ukrainian official held amid probe
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — A court has ordered three months detention for a former Ukrainian government official during an investigation into accusations he kidnapped a fellow countryman at a popular tourist spot in the Dominican Republic. An alleged accomplice from Bulgaria also is being held.
Volodymyr Vasiliovich Saldo, 60, was arrested in late August along with the Bulgarian man after both were accused of kidnapping and torturing a 33-year-old Ukrainian man who allegedly owed them some $334,000 (300,000 euros), defense attorney Manuel Moquete said Monday.
Dominican authorities identified the alleged victim as Denys Paschenko and said he escaped after being held 50 days against his will. They said he arrived at a police station via taxi about two weeks ago with his hands and feet still shackled.
Paschenko was previously detained in Greece in 2015 by Interpol following accusations of bank fraud.
Moquete told The Associated Press that his client was actually the one kidnapped when he arrived in the Dominican Republic in June following an invitation by Paschenko to settle the debt. He said Vasiliovich opted not to contact police.
Vasiliovich served as a Ukrainian legislator from 2012 to 2014 and as mayor of the town of Kherson from 2002 to 2012.
He and the Bulgarian, identified as Georgi Kastandinov, are being held at a prison in Higuey, east of the capital of Santo Domingo.