Fifth President of Ukraine and current member of the Ukrainian parliament Petro Poroshenko does not want to cooperate with the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) on the investigations into thirteen criminal proceedings in which he is a witness, SBI Director Roman Truba said. “Petro Poroshenko should understand that it is in his interests to testify so that the investigators can study the circumstances as soon as possible […] Unfortunately, the ex-president does not agree on that. We are offering cooperation, but he offers opposition. We are proposing to him an investigation into all circumstances of the case, he is engaging in politics near the SBI office,” Truba told a briefing in Kyiv on Wednesday.
A testimony is needed first and foremost for Poroshenko himself, Truba said.
The SBI is investigating 13 criminal proceedings in which Poroshenko is a witness and he is being questioned in that status, Truba said.
Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko did not show up at the State Bureau of Investigations on Thursday, where he had been summoned to be questioned as a witness in an inquiry into the organization of the illegal crossing of the Ukrainian border. “Poroshenko did not appear for questioning on Thursday,” State Bureau of Investigations press secretary Anzhelika Ivanova told Interfax-Ukraine.
Poroshenko was summoned to undergo investigative procedures in a criminal inquiry regarding the possible organization of the illegal transfer of individuals across the Ukrainian border using fake documents, she said.
“Investigators from the State Bureau of Investigations will look into reports alleging that the ex-president arranged the illegal transfer [of individuals] across the Ukrainian border using knowingly false documents. In addition, it will look into the possibility that customs and border officials might have entered knowingly false information in official documents to ensure the crossing of the border,” the statement says.
The pretrial inquiry has been opened on counts of official forgery, illegal transfer of individuals across the Ukrainian border, and the use of a knowingly fake passport.
The case concerns Poroshenko’s trip to the Maldivian Islands.
State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) Director Roman Truba has said the next questioning of ex-President Petro Poroshenko may be conducted with the assistance of lie-detecting equipment. “We don’t rule out that the next interrogation could take place with the use of lie-detecting equipment. There is nothing awful about this. All our employees take lie-detector tests every year,” Truba said on his Telegram channel.
Truba said Poroshenko was questioned for two hours on Monday about possible tax evasion involving the acquisition of the Pryamiy TV channel.
Unidentified people near SBI tried to hit Poroshenko with eggs when he left the SBI building on Monday.
Rallies were held for and against Poroshenko before and after he was questioned.
Unnamed men who obviously want Poroshenko to face criminal charges threw eggs at him when he was leaving the SBI building, but the eggs mainly hit journalists. Police intervened, but the hooligans escaped. Poroshenko, who was accompanied by his son Mykhailo and daughter Yevhenia, was unhurt. As reported, on July 25, four unknown men attempted to assault Poroshenko after he was questioned in Kyiv. The men escaped.
The former deputy head of the Presidential Administration under ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, Andriy Portnov, has said Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) has opened a criminal case to probe facts of embezzling funds from state-run Concern Ukroboronprom and siphoning them off into offshore accounts, and suspects in the case “could include dozens of ex-President Poroshenko’s allies.”
“Let me inform you about a new criminal case, which can incriminate dozens of people among Poroshenko’s associates. The SBI yesterday officially registered the case and began its investigation,” Portnov said on Facebook on Thursday.
Portnov said Poroshenko gave direct instructions to ex-National Bank of Ukraine Chairwoman Valeriya Gontareva, and the NBU board on January 19, 2016, revoked NBU decisions on hard currency control involving foreign economic activities, establishing that payments of Ukroboronprom to offshore accounts could be used for making prepayments without NBU hard currency controls and limits.
“This enabled the theft of several billion hryvnias from Ukraine’s army, hiding behind official decisions made by the NBU,” Portnov said.
Interfax-Ukraine has not received confirmation from the SBI regarding Portnov’s statements.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has decided to set up a team of experts to assess the results of the “judicial reform” conducted by his predecessor, Petro Poroshenko. “Recently we have been concerned by the situation with various courts (in particular the ‘reformed’ ones) proclaiming rulings which lawyers think were not based on the requirements of the Ukrainian Constitution and the law,” Ruslan Riaboshapka, deputy chief of the presidential administration, said.
The presence of such court rulings was a “glaring testament to the failure of the judicial reform” carried out on Poroshenko’s watch, he said.
“This led the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, to decide to form a group of experts to assess the results of the ‘judicial reform’ and prepare legislative and practical steps to urgently resolve the problems of functioning of the judicial branch of government,” Riaboshapka said.
Both the public and Zelensky’s administration expect a swift and principled reaction from the Supreme Council of Justice to such court rulings, the official said.
Just under a half of Ukrainians (48.4%) said they would vote for Volodymyr Zelensky and 17% for the incumbent, Petro Poroshenko, were the second round of the presidential election held right now, according to the findings of a poll conducted by the Kiyv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) on April 9-14. Seventeen point nine per cent were undecided, 1.6% were going to ruin the ballot, 6.3% did not intend to go to the polls and 8.8% refused to answer the question.
KIIS interviewed 2,004 respondents in 129 towns across Ukraine; in Luhansk and Donetsk region, the poll was conducted only in Ukraine-controlled parts of the regions.
The runoff is due to be held on April 21.