Espreso. Global

Serbia refuses to extradite wanted former SBU general to Ukraine

15 November, 2023 Wednesday

Serbia has refused to extradite former SBU General Andriy Naumov to Ukraine due to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's appeal, who called him a traitor.

This is reported by BBC News Ukraine.

It is noted that a Serbian court refused to extradite Andriy Naumov to Ukraine and sent him to prison for a year for money laundering. The former SBU official has been in a detention center for more than a year and will soon be released. According to the BBC, this may happen in early December.

On June 7, 2022, Andriy Naumov was detained on the border between Serbia and North Macedonia. He claimed in court that he was traveling with a friend to Athens for a yacht fair. Then the police found undeclared cash in the amount of about €600 thousand and $120 thousand, as well as two emeralds. Since then, Naumov has been held in a pre-trial detention center in the city of Niš in Serbia.

According to the BBC, Serbia refused to extradite Naumov to Ukraine because Ukrainian law enforcement officers were investigating his possible treason, and "this can be seen as political persecution."

In addition, one of the arguments for refusing to extradite Naumov was the President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeal on March 31, 2022. The leader of Ukraine called Naumov a traitor. All of this was also taken into account as arguments for refusing extradition.

"It was taken into account not only that the President of Ukraine in a public address to the public called the accused a traitor, but also stripped him of his rank of brigadier general without explanation," the court decision reads.

According to the court, Zelenskyy's statement about Naumov was biased and led society to believe that he was a traitor even before the court's decision. And this "threatens his safety in case of extradition."

What is known about Naumov

Andriy Naumov has been the topic of several journalistic investigations into smuggled imports and corruption schemes in the customs service. In 2019-21, Naumov was the head of the Main Department of Internal Security of the SBU. Prior to that, he headed the state-owned Center for Organizational, Technical and Informational Support of Exclusion Zone Management.

When Naumov was the head of the SBU's Main Department of Internal Security, he was involved in an investigation by Skhemy journalists into the acquisition of elite property disproportionate to the official income of a civil servant. Skhemy also reported that on the verge of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, on February 23, Andriy Naumov traveled abroad.

In Ukraine, Naumov was notified of suspicion of "misappropriation, embezzlement or seizure of property by abuse of office, and abuse of power or office (Part 4 of Article 191, Part 2 of Article 364 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)," as well as fraud and causing damage to the state in the amount of more than UAH 3.2 million.

Naumov was detained in Serbia on June 7, 2022. After that, it became known that Ukraine had sent a request to Serbia for the extradition of Andriy Naumov, who is also suspected of treason and assisting Russian troops in the seizure of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant.

On September 29, the highest court in the Serbian city of Niš sentenced former SBU General Andriy Naumov to one year in prison on charges of money laundering.

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