Former Ukraine leader awaits ruling on US status

AP News
Posted: Nov 02, 2012 8:59 PM

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. (AP) — A former Ukrainian prime minister convicted in the United States of corruption in his homeland has been released from federal prison and turned over to immigration authorities.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Lori Haley said Friday that Pavlo Lazarenko will appear before an immigration judge to determine if he can remain in the country.

U.S. Bureau of Prison records show the 59-year-old was released from federal prison on Thursday.

Lazarenko served as Ukraine's prime minister from 1996 to 1997, then fled to the United States and applied for political asylum in 1999.

Prosecutors instead accused him of corruption, extortion and a host of other charges. He was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2006 but a federal judge later reduced his sentence.