Maldives as a verdict: Would Ukraine's ex-president Poroshenko go behind bars?

Author : Natalia Lebed

Source : 112 Ukraine

State Investigation Bureau opened a case against ex-president Petro Poroshenko due to his travel to the Maldives in January 2018 - he crossed the border under an assumed name
17:40, 7 August 2019

Fifth President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko

History knows of precedents when a former president was interrogated after the completion of his cadence. For example, it happened with Leonid Kuchma. Various kinds of accusations were brought forward to the Yushchenko spouses (Ukraine's president in 2005-2010, - ed.). But never before has an avalanche of criminal proceedings covered the ex-head of state with such power. Today, another criminal proceeding has been opened against Petro Poroshenko (tenth in a row). It concerns his vacation in the Maldives.

Related: Poroshenko saved Ukraine from Russia, - Ukrainian oligarch Kolomoysky

Fatal islands

Lawyer Andriy Portnov is the "author" of the charge against Poroshenko. Because of his appeal to the State Bureau of Investigation, criminal proceedings were opened regarding Poroshenko’s trip to the Maldives in January 2018. Actually, there is nothing criminal in the trip itself. It’s even difficult for the ex-president to abandon a chic vacation - in the end, Poroshenko is a non-poor person. But the fact is that he allegedly crossed the border with a fake passport and under a false name. Obviously, just to avoid any discussion of his voyage. But the ubiquitous journalists unearthed this mystery.

According to the investigation of the journalists of the “Schemes” project, Poroshenko’s secret vacation lasted from January 1 to January 8, 2018. The president allegedly rented a luxurious house under the nickname “Petro Incognito,” and the vacation cost at least $ 500 thousand. A couple more details: Poroshenko flew in a private plane with seven passengers and presidential guards. Journalists assumed that these individuals did not pass passport control and traveled under other names.

Andriy Portnov drew the attention of the State Investigation Bureau (SIB) to this episode and indicated that he was concerned not only with violation of passport control.

“Following numerous requests from media representatives, we inform you: the State Security Bureau is investigating possible facts of the organization of the illegal transportation of the former president of Ukraine across the state border of Ukraine,” the State Bureau responded. “In addition, we will clarify the possible introduction by officials of state customs and border authorities into official documents of knowingly false information in order to ensure border crossing,” the department notes.

Portnov’s initiative was "appreciated" by Poroshenko. “Andriy Portnov and his “rent-boys” from SIB, whom this notorious Yanukovych’s colleague received in concession from the new government, will be very disappointed.“Fake documents” exist only in their sick imagination. Like all other fakes that are the basis numerous "investigations" that are stamped by their common conveyor,” the European Solidarity press service noted.

In a word, the war continues. And it should be said that Portnov is not the only one who represents the “accusation” side in it.

News and new cases

But it all started with Portnov. He accuses Poroshenko of high treason, but specifically, it is about the capture by the Russians of Ukraine’s three ships on November 25, 2018, and the introduction of martial law after this. The martial law regime (like the whole incident, which Portnov considers to be a deliberate provocation) was intended to postpone the date of the presidential election and limit the number of constitutional rights of citizens, in particular, de facto ban the activities of opposition forces. This is stated in a statement by Portnov addressed to the SIB.

Another plot concerns economic affairs. On May 22, Portnov announced the filing of a statement with the SIB “on laundering Poroshenko’s money and tax evasion at his Kuznia na Rybalskomy enterprise (which produces Gurza-class boats, - ed.).” Story: Poroshenko legalized $ 300 million in income through offshore companies, concluding a nonexistent transaction using funds stolen from the Ukrainian army, ” Portnov explained.

There he also reported on his third statement, filed with the SIB. On May 24, Portnov brought to the attention "money laundering and tax evasion by former President Poroshenko, who, as part of an organized criminal group, took control of the Pryamy television channel, turning it into an offshore company that fictitiously belonged to former member of the Party of Regions (of Viktor Yanukovych, - ed.) Makeenko."

Related: State Investigation Bureau investigates illegal visit of Poroshenko to Maldives on false passport

Portnov does not hide the fact that he wants to achieve the arrest of all Poroshenko’s assets. He stated this on the air of the channel "112 Ukraine". And he added that the ex-president should be held accountable for "an attempt to seize power", which was expressed in the introduction of martial law. "He played for the benefit of the Russian Federation, thereby worsening the defense capability of Ukraine and its credibility in the international arena," said Portnov.

Meanwhile, Dmytro Kryuchkov, MP of the fifth convocation, joined the attack on Poroshenko. Being elected from Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna party, Kryuchkov did not work in parliament for long - from 2006 to 2007. In the early elections - 2007, he joined the Kuchma bloc but lost the race. In 2017, Kryuchkov was accused of embezzlement at Zaporizhiaoblenergo, and subsequently, the ex-deputy spent about a year in a pre-trial detention center. It is interesting that Kryuchkov left the pre-trial detention center on April 22, 2019, the day after the second round of the presidential election.

And on May 22, the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office registered four criminal proceedings on the basis of statements by Kryuchkov. This was preceded by Kryuchkov’s personal reception of Nazar Kholodnytsky, the head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAP). The first case concerns Centrenergo's privatization plans. According to Kryuchkov, there was a criminal scheme coordinated by Petro Poroshenko and MP Igor Kononenko, his close associate, and friend, as a result of which theft of state funds in the amount of 235 million USD took place.

The third person who voiced claims to Poroshenko was the MP from the Opposition Platform - For Life party Nestor Shufrych. He filed an application for Poroshenko at once with three law enforcement agencies: the the State Bureau for Investigations, Prosecutor General’s Office, and State Security Service. True, unlike Portnov and Kryuchkov, Shufrych granted his applications the status of MP’s appeal. And they must respond to the MP’s appeal in the relevant instances but are not required to initiate any cases.

Shufrych blames the ex-president for the bloodshed in the Donbas: “Five years ago, in agreement with National Security and Defense Secretary Turchynov, we together with Viktor Medvedchuk were involved in organizing the negotiation process to resolve Donbas conflict. As of June 30, 2014, according to various sources, there were 74-86 dead, while informally, there were about several hundred of them. Two meetings of the OSCE-Ukraine-Russia Contact Group took place on June 23-27 with representatives of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Leonid Kuchma officially represented Ukraine, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov represented Russia, and OSCE  was represented by Heidi Tagliavini. Those basic agreements that were reached could be the basis for resolving the conflict."

Related: Poroshenko’s interview becomes a wedge dividing him, Interior Minister and PM

Then Poroshenko withdrew from the negotiation scheme and gave the order to begin an offensive military operation on June 30. "We all know the consequences. Thousands of dead (...). I promised that as soon as Poroshenko ceased to enjoy presidential immunity, I would contact the appropriate authorities, which would give a legal assessment of his decision to withdraw from the ceasefire and give a command to the Armed Forces of Ukraine launch an offensive," Shufyrch wrote on Facebook.

Poroshenko: they will not succeed

What Shufrych said apparently hurt Petro Poroshenko especially painfully. "When they are trying to blame that in 2014, after a ten-day unilateral cease-fire regime, our troops fired from all means, including small arms, artillery, mortars, and I then ordered a counteroffensive ... As a result of the counteroffensive, we released 2 / 3 of occupied Donbas, and if it was a crime against Ukraine, I am ready to bear responsibility for this “crime,” Poroshenko answered.

He also paid attention to the topic of interpretation of events in the Sea of ​​Azov, on which Portnov insists. “I am very closely following the accusations, which are not coming from my enemies, but from the enemies of Ukraine,” said Poroshenko.

Poroshenko does not exclude the possibility that in the near future new criminal cases will fall on him.

At one time (during Poroshenko’s presidency, - ed.), enough cases were opened against officials of the times of Viktor Yanukovych, but for the most part, this did not end there. As a rule, in such situations,

Political scientist Andriy Zolotariov is convinced that the game is more subtle: “I don’t really believe in what Poroshenko will punish because there are external partners who provided him with guarantees of personal integrity. But those around him do not apply these guarantees. In fact, the aim is to make Poroshenko and his team toxic. If there is the political will of the new leadership, then many of Poroshenko’s associates might be in the dock instead of parliamentary offices. And in the West would normally percept it.”

Vadym Karasiov, director of the Institute of Global Strategies, points out that the West will protect Poroshenko by virtue of certain agreements: “Firstly, cases against Poroshenko do not yet have judicial prospects. The consequence will be quite lengthy. Secondly, they play on Poroshenko’s hand, so it could be perceived as a revenge from the Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. Thirdly, he will have the mandate of MP, which will significantly complicate the prospects of his court cases. Plus, there is another factor - guarantees of Western countries. If corruption in the defense sector with the direct participation of Poroshenko is not proven, I think this will soften everything."

Those who are accusing Poroshenko now are driven by a banal desire for revenge, said Deputy Director of the Ukrainian Institute for the Study of Extremism Bohdan Petrenko. But such itchy stakeholders can dramatically cool. “Today, there is a desire for revenge, but tomorrow it might disappear,” says Petrenko. He also talks about the fact that oligarch "Kolomoysky met with Zlochevsky."

Related: Nine criminal cases against Ukraine's ex-president Poroshenko: Would he go into slammer?

Fugitive MP Oleksandr Onishchenko assures that ex-minister of ecology Mykola Zlochevsky conveyed a very profitable offer to Poroshenko - a share in the gas business in exchange for closing his criminal cases. And Poroshenko agreed.

According to unconfirmed data, Burisma gas company, controlled by the ex-minister, paid huge sums to Hunter Biden for being on the supervisory board. And this is the son of Joe Biden, the ex-vice-president of the United States, who is considered the main rival of Donald Trump in the upcoming US presidential elections in 2020.

Such things cannot but cause a negative reaction from the United States. “If the Trump administration continues to actively fight with the Democrats, with the people of Biden and Hillary Clinton, then they will remember the Ukrainian case,” political expert Kost Bondarenko said. In his opinion, “no one will sink Poroshenko,” but on occasion, his sins might be remembered.

Bondarenko summarizes: "Such political issues are resolved in Washington, not in Kyiv."

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