Hoeven: North Dakota farmer out of jail, remains in Ukraine

June 3, 2022

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota farmer who had been jailed in Ukraine since November has been released from custody, yet still remains in the eastern European country, Sen. John Hoeven said.

Hoeven said work continues in regards to “fair treatment and safety” of Kurt Groszhans, who was arrested on charges he plotted to assassinate Ukraine’s then-agriculture minister, Roman Leschenko. Groszhans’ family has said the charges are false and aimed at silencing his claims of corruption in Ukraine.

Hoeven’s office said the senator met with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink and briefed her on the situation. The senator’s office did not say where the information on Groszhans came from and would not offer additional details “out of respect for his family’s wishes and for security reasons,” The Bismarck Tribune reported.

Groszhans, of Ashley, decided in 2017 to move to Ukraine, where his ancestors are from. His family said he invested a large sum of money to get a farming operation up and running. After connecting with Leshchenko, then a law professor, Groszhans named him director of his company.

The pair’s relationship soured and Groszhans alleged in a lawsuit and an internet post that Leshchenko embezzled money from him. Leschenko resigned as agriculture minister in March.