North Dakota farmer accused in murder-for-hire scheme in Ukraine
UKRAINE (KVRR) – A North Dakota farmer is being held in a Ukranian prison for the alleged assassination plot of a member of the country’s president’s cabinet.
Kurt Groszhan’s family says money was stolen and used to fund the election of Ukraine’s President.
“We last heard from Kurt on November 16th at which time there was no indication there was anything wrong. We’re extremely concerned with his health and safety. We just want him home safely and be able to have a fair investigation into the circumstances,” Kurt’s sister Kimberly said.
The 50-year-old Groszhans and a Ukranian woman are accused of plotting the assassination of a Ukrainian Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Roman Leschenko.
Groszahns has had business dealings with him.
Kurt’s sisters Kristi and Kimberly believe Leschenko stole money from their brother and it caused their dealings to go south. Reports from U.S. embassy representatives over there are he’s in okay condition in holding, but will be kept for 60 days.
“I’m not ready to make a trip to the Ukraine, but, if necessary, we’ll have to go and see if we can’t appeal to some of their higher powers. But you also have to remember we don’t know all the facts on the ground, but we do know this is a North Dakota citizen and an American citizen who deserves justice,” Senator Kevin Cramer said.
Ukrainian state funded media outlet UATV reports a sting operation was made with the woman discussing a murder plot for $20,000 American..
We’re told Groszahns has a public defender. His sisters found out from a family friend their brother was in prison and initially thought it was a scam. After Groszahns didn’t respond to them, worry started to settle in, but they aren’t giving up.
“My brother isn’t able to have a voice We’re going to fight for him to get released and bring him back to America,” Kurt’s sister Kristi Groszahns said.
Groszhans’ grew up near Ashley, North Dakota and attended North Dakota State University.
“After hearing from Mr. Groszhans’ family and friends, our office contacted the State Department to ensure his well-being and that he is being provided with the appropriate due process,” Sen. John Hoeven said. “We will continue to be in touch with the State Department.”
UATV reports if convicted, Groszhans faces a life sentence.