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

Author : Natalia Lebed

Source : 112 Ukraine

July 24, the Prosecutor General’s Office resumed production of the “attempt to seize power” by ex-president Petro Poroshenko during the crisis in the Kerch Strait in November 2018
13:19, 31 July 2019

Former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko
Open source

July 24, the Prosecutor General’s Office resumed production of the “attempt to seize power” by ex-president Petro Poroshenko during the crisis in the Kerch Strait in November 2018. Poroshenko’s name appears in eight criminal proceedings, conducted by the State Bureau of Investigations. At least, Roman Truba, the head of this structure, assures.

Indeed, after the completion of the presidential cadence, the shadow of criminal prosecution looms over Petro Poroshenko. Whatever accusations were brought against the fifth president of Ukraine, the prison cell does not threaten him. Firstly, the West is on guard of Poroshenko’s interests. And secondly, very soon Poroshenko will get the immunity of an MP. But in any case, the current "investigators" is a pain in his neck.

Related: Poroshenko's lawyer denies existence of suspicions against his client

Crowd of accusers

On May 19, Andriy Portnov returned to Ukraine, the former head of the Main Department for the Judicial System attached to the Administration of President Yanukovych. After the Revolution of Dignity, Portnov left first to Russia, then to Austria, where he has spent five years in "exile." EU has imposed sanctions against Portnov, later they were canceled by the court. Portnov has some reason to be “angry” with Poroshenko, which he proved, the very next day after his return by contacting the State Bureau of Investigation with “the first statement about a crime”.

Portnov accuses Poroshenko of treason, and if specified, it is about the seizure of three ships of the Ukrainian Navy on November 25, 2018, and the imposition of martial law after this. The martial law regime (like the entire incident, which Portnov considers to be a deliberate provocation) was intended to postpone the date of the presidential elections and limit the number of constitutional rights of citizens, in particular to de facto ban the activities of opposition forces.

There are some cases concerning economic affairs. On May 22, Portnov announced the filing of a statement to the State registry office about Poroshenko’s money laundering and tax evasion for his PrJSC Kuznia na Rybalskomy enterprise. “Poroshenko has legalized $ 300 million in revenues through offshore companies, concluding a non-existent deal with funds stolen from the Ukrainian army,” Portnov explained in his Telegram channel.

Related: Poroshenko's car attacked near State Investigations Bureau, - MP

He also reported on his third application filed with the State Bureau of Investigations. On May 24, Portnov informed the State Security Bureau about “money laundering, legalization of illegal incomes and tax evasion by the former president Poroshenko, who, as part of an organized criminal group, took control of the Pryamy TV channel (previously owned by the son of ousted ex-president Yanukovych, - ed.), making it into an offshore company, which was fictitiously owned by former member of the Party of Regions Makeenko.

Portnov makes no secret of the fact that he wants to seize all Poroshenko’s assets. He stated this on the air of the channel "112 Ukraine". And he added that the ex-president should be responsible for the "attempt to seize power," which resulted in the introduction of martial law. "He played for the benefit of the Russian Federation, which worsened the defense capability of Ukraine and its authority in the international arena," Portnov said.

Meanwhile, MP of the fifth convocation Dmytro Kryuchkov joined the attack on Poroshenko. Being elected from Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna party, Kryuchkov worked in parliament for a short time - from 2006 to 2007. In the early elections in 2007, he joined the Kuchma bloc but lost the race. In 2017, Kryuchkov was accused of embezzlement in Zaporizhoblenergo (energy facility), and subsequently, the ex-MP spent about a year in a detention facility.

May 22, the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office registered four criminal proceedings on the basis of Kryuchkov's statements. The first case concerns the plans for the privatization of Centrenergo. According to Kryuchkov, a criminal scheme was coordinated by Petro Poroshenko and his close friend, Ukraine’s MP Ihor Kononenko. It resulted in the embezzlement of state funds amounting to 240 million USD.

Related: Ukraine's State Investigations Bureau interviews Poroshenko

The third person who voiced claims against Poroshenko was Nestor Shufrych, MP from the Opposition Platform - For Life party. He filed applications for Poroshenko to three law enforcement agencies: the State Bureau for Investigations, the Prosecutor General’s Office, and the Security Service (SBU).

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."

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.

Related: Would Vakarchuk become Zelensky's 'little Poroshenko?'

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."

Related: Poroshenko does not show up for questioning at State Bureau of Investigation

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 "Kolomoisky met with Zlochevsky."

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.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (left) and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kyiv in November 2014

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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