Ukrainian Hauberk sales discussed at briefing in Washington

PRAVDA.Ru reported yesterday that, in Washington, a former security guard of the Ukrainian president, Major Nikolay Melnichenko, met with journalists. The Ukrainian editorial staff of Radio Liberty organized the briefing. The main topic of the discussion was Ukraine’s illegal armament sales to Iraq. The major told journalists how the former head of the Ukrainian Security Service, Leonid Derkach (who is now people’s deputy), was connected with the fraud.

The major described in detail the way the shady deal was performed. He said that Leonid Derkach is connected with the governments of Iran and Iraq. Communication was established through acquaintances. The Iraqi leadership was interested in the acquisition of a missile system, which is why Leonid Derkach initiated operative activities. In Melnichenko’s words, Derkach aimed to sell armaments, earning dirty money and investing it in politics. He hoped to remain unpunished. How could he remain unpunished? He decided to misinform the CIA.

Radio Liberty informs, as Nikolay Melnichenko claimed, that Leonid Derkach persuaded CIA agents that he was a man who struggled against organized crime. Then he was invited to Iran and Iraq in spring of 2000 to find out military needs. Then Mideast envoys were sent to Jordan to see samples of military equipment.

As it turned out from Melnichenko’s words, Leonid Derkach was the man who reported the successful “sale of KRAZ lorries” to President Kuchma, but, in fact, the transaction involved Hauberk missile systems that were sold to Iraq. The major said he had cassettes with recordings of the talks.

Nikolay Melnicheko also added: “Ukraine’s illegal armament sale is being investigated by the USA. I was invited to help the investigation. I would like to add that the investigation does not concern the case of Pavel Lazarenko (former prime minister of Ukraine), as some people believe. I think my testimony to the Grand Jury will soon produce an effect. Unfortunately, I have no right to mention what was said to the Grand Jury, sorry. I hope the investigation will help in the struggle with organized crime.”

Nikolay Melnichenko also said that Ukraine was not involved in illegal armament sales. He added that Ukrainian top officials were involved in illegal arms sales, which means that these people are to be charged with the crime, not the country.

Famous American expert for audio and video technology Bruce Kenning, who has worked as a technological investigator for the FBI for many years, also came to the Washington briefing. Journalists asked him to conduct a technical test of the equipment and tapes recorded by Nikolay Melnichenko in his office. The expert denied the conclusions of Croll, an American company, concerning the recording process. Bruce Kenning said the conclusions were not precise, as the tapes were undoubtedly authentic; no cutting or voice modulation had been done.

The briefing was dedicated to the 33rd birthday of Georgy Gongadze, the opposition journalist whose assassination has not yet been investigated.

Alexander Gorobets PRAVDA.Ru Kiev Ukraine

Translated by Maria Gousseva

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