Bulgaria Refuses to Extradite Len Homeniuk to Kyrgyzstan
Bulgaria won’t extradite the dual U.S./Canadian citizen Leonard Homeniuk to Kyrgyzstan, a Bulgarian court has decided.
The District Court in the Danube city of Vidin on Wednesday denied a request of the Kyrgyz authorities to extradite the retired geologist on charges of corruption, citing the lack of an extradition treaty between Bulgaria and Kyrgyzstan.
A failure of the Kyrgyz Supreme Prosecutor’s Office to prove whether the statute of limitations for the offence allegedly committed by Homeniuk had expired or not under the provisions of the Criminal Code of Kyrgyzstan was another motive for the court’s decision.
The court in Vidin has also taken into account the problem of unequal treatment of defendants in the investigation on corruption charges in Kyrgyzstan, sources said.
Homeniuk said he was ‘’happy with the decision and the outcome” of the legal procedure that lasted more than two months.
He reiterated his innocence, saying there were no bribes or another form of corruption whatsoever involved in his case.
He also thanked the Bulgarian court for rejecting an extradition request submitted by a country that has long demonstrated “lack of respect” for the right to a fair trial and human rights.
Homeniuk,a former CEO of Toronto-based Centerra Gold, one of the world's leading gold mining companies, was detained in Bulgaria in late July on a Red Notice global alert issued by Interpol at the request of the Kyrgyz authorities. They claimed that he was allegedly involved in shady deals with Kyrgyz officials during the restructuring process at Kumtor, the largest gold mine in Kyrgyzstan, which he led between 2003 and 2004.
Homeniuk, who has repeatedly said that the charges brought against him by the Kyrgyz authorites are politically motivated, spent more than a month under house arrest in Sofia before being granted bail in mid-September.
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