The Justice Department has asked the Ukrainian government for help in its investigation into whether two local men lured Ukrainian women to the United States with the promise of jobs and held them captive in Novi and Livonia, "The Detroit News" reported.

Aleksandr Makismenko and Michail Aronov were indicted by a federal grand jury Feb. 24 on charges of forcing as many as eight Ukrainian women to work as exotic dancers at an Eight Mile strip club. The government said the women were also physically abused and forced to have sex with the two men.

Aronov, 32, of Lithuania and Maksimenko, 25, a U.S. citizen, were ordered held without bond by U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts.

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement are conducting an inquiry into the investigation.

"Nearly every day in this fast-developing investigation, the government has uncovered new evidence corroborating the disturbing accounts of the four victim-witnesses," Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow said in a court filing.

The government has interviewed another four women who also allege they were subjected to "threats, violence and financial and sexual exploitation, including rape," Chutkow said.
The Justice Department has asked the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice for help in conducting witness interviews in Ukraine, obtaining Ukrainian business, banking and immigration records and requiring criminal histories of the alleged victims and the two men. The trial has been delayed until Oct. 18.

Defense attorney Cornelius Pitts called the delay an excuse "to conduct a leisurely fishing expedition, in the guise of an investigation."

Agents have seized more than $540,000 in cash, guns, a gold Rolex, a 2002 Mercedes-Benz and a 2002 Cadillac Escalade.


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