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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Drunk Minister Detained at Airport

Ukrainian Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko was detained by police at the Frankfurt airport and prevented from boarding his flight because of drunken and disorderly conduct, police said Wednesday.

Lutsenko, 44, was prevented from boarding a flight to Seoul, South Korea, on Monday after airport officials noticed that he and his 19-year-old son, with whom he was traveling, were severely drunk, a Frankfurt police spokesman said.

When they were stopped, both passengers flew into a rage, shouted and threw their mobile telephones, police said.

Three male police officers and one female officer were hurt in the altercation, the police spokesman said, describing the incident as an "ugly situation."

The minister's son, Oleksandr, was subsequently led away in handcuffs, and the two men spent more than five hours in police custody at the airport before they were released and caught a later flight to Seoul, the German newspaper Bild reported Wednesday.

In Kiev, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko ordered an investigation into the incident involving Lutsenko, one of the leading figures in the 2004 Orange Revolution that swept him to power.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry earlier denied that Lutsenko had been intoxicated and attributed his departure on a later flight to "an unfortunate misunderstanding."

It said in a statement carried by Interfax that there were "no handcuffs and no drunken conflict whatsoever."

A Lufthansa spokesman said a Ukrainian passenger who appeared to be "seriously" drunk and who was "very loud" was barred from the flight, the German news agency DPA reported. The passenger became physically confrontational and "clearly rowdy" after not being allowed to board, the spokesman said. "For that reason, the decision not to let him board and to call in the police was absolutely correct," he said.

He declined to give the name of the passenger.

Lutsenko was once a close ally of the president but in recent months has supported Yushchenko's rival, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

(Reuters, MT)