KIEV, Ukraine — A former Ukrainian presidential bodyguard has been detained at an Italian airport at Ukraine’s request.
Mykola Melnychenko was charged with abuse of office and divulging state secrets after claiming that former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma was involved in the murder of an investigative journalist.
Melnychenko had released tapes that he said were made in Kuchma’s office and on which a voice resembling Kuchma’s is heard ordering his subordinates to deal with the journalist, Heorhiy Gongadze.
The journalist’s beheaded body was found in a forest outside Kiev in November 2000.
A Ukrainian court cleared Kuchma last year. Melnychenko then fled the country.
Ukrainian news agencies on Saturday cited Melnychenko and his lawyer as saying he had been detained in the Naples airport after arriving on a flight from Washington on Friday.