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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Commission Links Kuchma to Gongadze Case

KIEV -- Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma authorized the abduction of investigative reporter Georgy Gongadze, whose headless body was found outside Kiev in November 2000, a parliamentary commission said Tuesday.

The commission unanimously identified Kuchma and then-Interior Minister Yury Kravchenko "as the organizers of the Gongadze kidnapping," lawmaker Hrihoriy Omelchenko, the commission president, told the parliament.

The commission also found that parliament speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, then Kuchma's chief of staff, and senior officials of the SBU security service, including former head Leonid Derkach, were involved in ordering that Gongadze be tailed.

"They organized the total shadowing of Gongadze," Omelchenko told parliament. "They did it also for all opposition lawmakers, opposition leaders and opposition media."

In 2001, Kuchma denied he was involved in Gongadze's death. Wednesday's report included only allegations that he was responsible for the abduction. Tapes made by a former Kuchma bodyguard implicated Kuchma in Gongadze's kidnapping. While Kuchma acknowledged the voice on the tapes was his, he said it was a re-edited fabrication concocted to discredit him.

Kravchenko was found shot dead at his home March 4, the day he was called in to answer questions about the case.