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BBC: Fugitive ex-SBU official released from Serbian prison

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 3, 2024 11:08 AM 2 min read
Ex-SBU general Andrii Naumov in Serbian detention. Photo published on Sept. 29, 2023. (Dejan Stankovic / Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
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Andrii Naumov, a former Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) general who was sentenced to a year in prison in Serbia for money laundering, was released in early December, the BBC reported on Jan. 3, citing the court of the Serbian city of Nis.

Naumov is involved in a number of criminal cases in Ukraine and left the country shortly before the start of the full-scale Russian invasion. Serbian authorities have repeatedly refused to extradite him.

According to the court's ruling, the ex-SBU official's documents were confiscated, and he is forbidden from leaving Serbia until appeal proceedings of his sentence are concluded, the BBC said.

Naumov's lawyers reportedly filed a complaint against the travel ban, arguing that there was a threat to the man's life, but the court rejected it.

The former head of the SBU's internal security department reportedly left Ukraine on Feb. 23, 2022, mere hours before the start of the all-out war. He used several vans loaded with cash and jewels to leave the country, which went to Germany and later Serbia, according to Ukrainska Pravda.

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Following his departure, Ukrainian authorities labeled him a traitor, launched several criminal cases against him on the charges of abuse of power and fraud, stripped him of his rank, and placed him on the wanted list.

He was detained on the border between Serbia and North Macedonia on June 7, 2022, reportedly carrying undeclared cash amounting to around 600,000 euros ($657,400), $120,000, and two emeralds.

Naumov was convicted by the High Court of Nis on Sept. 29, 2023, on money laundering charges and sentenced to a year in a Serbian prison.

The BBC reported in November that Naumov may be released in December, as he has effectively served his one-year sentence in a pre-trial detention.

The Nis court has twice refused a Ukrainian extradition request concerning Naumov. Serbian judges claimed that charges against him were "politically motivated" and that Naumov "fears for his life if he returns."

BBC: ‘Traitor’ description helped ex-SBU official avoid extradition from Serbia
President Volodymyr Zelensky’s refence to ex-Security Service official Andrii Naumov being a “traitor” was taken into account when a Serbian court decided to refuse his extradition to Ukraine, the BBC’s Ukraine Service reported on Nov. 15, citing court documents
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