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In Saakashvili’s shoes? Poroshenko asks US lobbyists to shield him from criminal charges

According to Vesti Ukraine, the ex-president sought help from the BGR Group, whose senior adviser is US Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker
Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko
© AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

KIEV, August 1. /TASS/. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has asked US lobbyist companies to provide assistance with criminal cases launched against him in Ukraine, Vesti Ukraine newspaper reported on Thursday, citing its sources.

"The ex-president is contacting lobbyists from the US [on assistance in criminal cases, which were opened against him in his home country]," the report said. Poroshenko has sought the assistance of the BGR Group, where US Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker is a senior adviser.

According to the report, Washington is expected to offer support in case of attempts to arrest Poroshenko. Besides, the so-called ‘Saakashvili scenario’ is also possible, when a former leader leaves the country after accusations have been announced.

"For example, he will go for treatment or to London, where some of his allies have gained a foothold," political scientist Alexei Yakubin told the paper. However, this model complicates public protection of business assets in the country, which may be arrested.

According to the report, Poroshenko understands the gravity of accusations made by the National Bureau of Investigation, which has opened 13 cases against the former president and his allies.

On July 28, Poroshenko and his family went abroad on vacation. Before his departure, he was summoned for questioning on August 12. Poroshenko was interrogated for the first time last week as a witness. Later he assured that there was no criminal case against him. The ex-president said he gave written explanations regarding the sale of his company, Kuznitsa na Rybalskom, claiming the deal was completed without his participation.

Poroshenko is also suspected in Ukraine of high treason, abuse of office, money laundering, tax evasion, an attempt to usurp judicial power, and illegal appointment of ministers in 2016 when there was no coalition in the parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.

One of the cases involves a ship building and armament company in Kiev, Kuznitsa na Rybalskom, one of Poroshenko’s major assets. According to unofficial data, the former head of state signed a fake contract on selling it to Ukrainian businessman Sergey Tigipko. A criminal case was launched into tax evasion and money laundering.