Photo from UNIAN

"Yes, I decided to run for the office," Onyshchenko said in an interview with The Washington Times.

"Poroshenko is viewing me as a strong political and economical [sic] opponent. So his first goal was to deprive me and the opposition of financial resources and force me to leave my home country," he said.

"I will be surprised if there are no new charges after announcing my decision to run for president. Last year the Security Service of Ukraine held a special press conference, during which they tried to frame me as a traitor to the State. The only evidence for such a serious accusation was a message exchange between my former lawyer and another unknown person. This is sad evidence of how low the Ukrainian state can go in harassment of whistleblowers and political opponents. In fact, criminal persecution is the only way how the current government is fighting its political opponents," Onyshchenko said.

Read alsoInterpol refuses to put Onyshchenko on wanted list – media"I'm in discussions with leading economists, former high ranking law enforcement officials, anti-corruption and compliance specialists on how to revive Ukrainian economy. We will come up with a plan which I will present," he added.

As UNIAN reported earlier, NABU and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office on June 15, 2016, announced they had revealed a criminal gang whose activity under contacts with natural gas producer PJSC Ukrgazvydobuvannya had caused damage to the state to the tune of over UAH 3 billion.

Read alsoProbe of corruption cases could drag up to 10 years if Anti-Corruption Court not created – NABU chiefProof collected during a pre-trial investigation shows that it is Onyshchenko who was the mastermind, the law-enforcement agencies said.

On July 5, the Verkhovna Rada agreed to allow criminal prosecution, detention, and arrest of Onyshchenko. Ahead of this move, having taken advantage of his parliamentary immunity, he fled Ukraine.

Twelve suspects were detained as part of the investigation. Five of them pleaded guilty to the charge and agreed to cooperate with the investigators.