This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
A U.S. citizen has been arrested in Ukraine for allegedly planning to kill the country’s minister for agrarian policies and food, Roman Leshchenko, in August.
Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskiy told reporters in Kyiv on November 18 that the suspect and his alleged accomplice, a Ukrainian woman, had been apprehended a day earlier.
According to Monastyrskiy, the main suspect, a U.S. citizen, whose identity has not been disclosed, is suspected of using the unidentified Ukrainian woman to find a hit man to kill Leshchenko, who allegedly had refused to pay back an unspecified amount of money he had owed the main suspect since 2018.
Monastyrskiy added that the suspects first ordered the contract killing of another alleged debtor and unknowingly contacted undercover police agents, who faked the killing and presented photos of it to the U.S. citizen and his alleged accomplice.
After that, Monastyrskiy said, the duo asked the undercover agents to kill Leshchenko.
Leshchenko said on November 18 that the situation stems from a 2017 “corporate conflict” when he led the State Registry of Property. He and his family were then provided security after they received threats from unknown persons.
Leshchenko took over the Ministry for Agrarian Policies and Food in December last year.