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Poroshenko once again fails to turn up for questioning in criminal probe

The ex-president was to testify in the case of an illegal border crossing
Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ
Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko

KIEV, October 3. /TASS/. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has failed to turn up at the National Bureau of Investigation for giving evidence in the case of an illegal border crossing, bureau’s Spokesperson Anzhelika Ivanova said on Thursday.

"Pyotr Poroshenko was summoned to the State Bureau of Investigation for 10 am today to be questioned in a criminal case over possibly arranging an illegal crossing of the Ukrainian state border for certain persons on knowingly fake documents. He has failed to turn up," the spokesperson told journalists in a broadcast of Nash TV channel.

According to her, Poroshenko’s lawyer explained his failure to appear by his busy schedule in the parliament. The bureau will issue a new subpoena, she said.

Poroshenko has already skipped several investigative interviews at the Bureau of Investigation, citing his busy parliamentary schedule and other reasons. Bureau’s director Roman Truba suggested earlier that the former president was giving questionable excuses, and stressed that in any case Poroshenko would have to turn up for the questioning sessions from January 2020, when the law stripping parliamentarians of immunity comes into effect.

Several cases have been opened against Poroshenko after his defeat in the spring presidential election. He is suspected of high treason, abuse of power, money laundering, tax evasion, an attempt to usurp judicial authority and illegally appointing ministers in 2016 when there was no coalition in the country’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.

One of the cases concerns Kiev’s Kuznya on Rybalsky factory, which was one of Poroshenko's largest assets and which, according to the media, the former president fictitiously sold to Ukrainian businessman Sergei Tigipko. The case of the factory’s loss was opened on suspicion of tax fraud and further laundering of illegally gained income.

Another case is investigating the possible involvement of the former president and former head of the National Bank Valeriya Gontareva as well as other people in the withdrawal of funds to offshore accounts. On September 12, Ukraine’s law enforcement bodies carried out searches at Kiev International Airport as part of the case of Poroshenko’s use of fake passports when travelling abroad. In early August, it emerged that the State Investigation Bureau of Ukraine registered a criminal case, which concerns the possible trip of the former president and his accomplices to the Maldives under fake documents in 2018 with support issued by customs and border services.