7 Feb 2024 15:33

Austria denies extradition of ex-NBU head Shevchenko - media

MOSCOW. Feb 7 (Interfax) - Austrian courts have denied the Ukrainian authorities' request for extradition of Kirill Shevchenko, the former governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), who was put on the wanted list by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) in late October 2022.

Shevchenko himself, who said he had been politically persecuted by the Office of the President, sought political asylum in Austria, Ukrainian media quoted a publication of the Austrian edition Der Standard as saying.

"Shevchenko fled Ukraine in September and shortly after the initiation of a criminal case applied for asylum in Austria, where he is still. His whereabouts will not change yet: the Austrian courts denied the request of the Ukrainian authorities for his extradition," Der Standard reported.

In comments to the publication, the former NBU head described the NABU case opened against him as "classic political persecution," citing his uncompromising attitude as the NBU head and his refusal to conduct the hryvnia issue and lower the discount rate in the first year of the crisis as the main reason behind this.

Shevchenko's monetary policy decision as the NBU governor kept Ukraine's financial system from collapsing and allowed the country to keep the inflation rate at 5% per annum a year after his resignation, the publication said.

Shevchenko said that if he returns to Ukraine, he should not hope for a fair trial, given that all of his 50 motions filed by his defense team were dismissed by the court. The NABU declined to comment to the Austrian publication.