Ukraine Politician Rape Case Dropped

A Ukrainian politician who was the subject of an Interpol red notice has been acquitted by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court of a 2011 rape charge, according to his lawyer.

Mykola Kniazhytsky, 46, made Interpol’s most-wanted list in March at the request of the municipal court. Two days later, Interpol retracted the notice because, according to Lim Chheangleng, assistant head of Cambodia’s Interpol office, “the case involves politics in Ukraine and Russia.”

On Wednesday, Yaroslav Polkachov, a lawyer for Mr. Kniazhytsky, said that the woman who brought the rape claims told the court in April that she had fabricated her allegations.

“We didn’t need to have any evidence because all of this case was the dream of one person. When the one person told their dreams, the case was acquitted,” Mr. Polkachov said.

Judge Chhe Virak, who signed the arrest warrant for Mr. Kniazhytsky and was handling the investigation in March, on Wednesday referred all questions to the case’s trial judge, the name of whom he could not remember.

When the allegations first came to light, Mr. Kniazhytsky quickly countered them by pointing to his hosting of the live television talk show “Evening With Mykola Kniazhytsky” the night before the alleged rape, which, coupled with time zones and flight schedules, made it impossible for him to have been in Cambodia when the alleged rape took place.

The accused, who was elected to Ukraine’s parliament in November, suggested that the charges had been fabricated by Russian tycoon Konstantin Kagalovsky, who he claimed had “friendly connections with high officials” in Cambodia and Russia.

In an email Wednesday, Mr. Kniazhytsky said he had been framed due to an old rivalry with members of the Victor Yanukovich regime, which was ousted in the bloody revolution of 2014.

Mr. Polkachov, the lawyer, said his client would not take legal action over the false claims.

“Time will punish all guilty persons,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Aun Pheap)

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