KIEV – A former Ukrainian foreign minister was detained on Wednesday on suspicion of murdering the director of a large advertising group, the interior ministry said.
Leonid Kozhara, 57, served as foreign minister under Ukraine’s Kremlin-friendly president Viktor Yanukovych, ousted in 2014 after bloody pro-Europe street demonstrations.
The ex-minister is suspected of killing Sergiy Starytsky, a 56-year-old advertising magnate who directed the large pro-Russian Inter television network.
Starytsky was found dead in Kozhara’s home near Kiev on February 22, fatally wounded by a bullet from a gun belonging to Kozhara, police said.
Kozhara and his wife, who were both at home during the incident, say Starytsky committed suicide in a separate room.
Investigators however have concluded the man could not have shot himself after running forensic and molecular genetic tests.
The national police said it has “enough evidence” to conclude that Kozhara, his wife and Starytsky were consuming alcohol and had a fight.
“The owner of the house went to the bedroom, took a gun, returned to the kitchen and shot at his friend,” the police statement said.
The former minister, in charge of diplomacy between 2012 and 2014 faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.