(Mosnews) Ukraine's richest man, sought by prosecutors in connection with a criminal investigations, has said in an interview he gave in Italy that he has nothing to fear in his homeland as he has always obeyed the law, the Reuters news agency reports.

The General Prosecutor's office wants to question Rinat Akhmetov, whose fortune is estimated at $2.4 billion, about criminal cases into violence a decade ago in the eastern city of Donetsk, gripped by gangland warfare in the 1990s. No charges have been laid against him.

Akhmetov, president of Shakhter soccer club, failed to appear before prosecutors last month. He told the Wall Street Journal newspaper he had not wanted to interrupt his holiday with his wife and two sons in Monaco.

"We have a family tradition of coming here to relax in the summer," he told to the newspaper in Milan. Akhmetov, believed to own a television channel and several newspapers rarely answers questions from the media.

He said he was prepared to talk to prosecutors "when there is something serious to discuss.

"We invested in the Ukrainian economy under the rules that existed at the time," said Akhmetov, who acquires his fortune in the mid-1990s as did other "oligarchs" taking advantage of low prices in post-Soviet sell-offs.

Akhmetov, whose empire includes steel and machine-building plants, telecoms companies and banks, has already lost a prominent assert, Ukraine's largest steel mill, Krivorozhstal, Reuters adds.

The plant was sold in June 2004 to Akhmetov and his partners for about $800 million, below other offers in a selloff denounced by Yushchenko as "theft." Courts have overturned the sale. Akhmetov's lawyers are appealing the decision at the European Court of Human Rights.

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