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(…) “The investigation has reason to believe that, using the political and economic levers of influence already on the new Ukrainian government and manipulating the issue of providing Ukraine with financial assistance, Joe Biden actively promoted the closure of criminal cases against Zlochevsky and other representatives of Burisma Group.
In addition, for several years he managed to actually block the activity of Ukraine’s law enforcement agencies in restoring state-owned assets appropriated by private individuals as a result of criminal activities, including other representatives of the Yanukovych regime. How can you not remember the lists of innocent persons that the US ambassador to Ukraine, according to Yury Lutsenko, passed to him?
In the course of these efforts and with the assistance of the American side in May 2014, Vitaly Kasko (a partner and one of the leaders of the law firm Arzinger) was appointed Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine. By his direct intervention, the investigation suggests that criminal cases initiated by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine (GPU) in 2014 – 2015 against those who appropriated state assets were frozen, and it was impossible to write off funds stored in Burisma Group’s arrested accounts.
These cases include:
– 7 of May 2014 of the GPU opened a criminal case No. 42014000000000375 on the fact of tax evasion by officials of LLC ESCO-Pivnich, LLC Pari, LLC First Ukrainian Oil and Gas Company, Research and Production Company. OOO Zond, OOO Infoks (all companies are part of the Burisma Group holding).
– 5 on August 2014, criminal case No. 42014000000000805 was opened on suspicion of Zlochevsky of committing a criminal offense under 3, article 368-2, of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (acquisition of property rights by a person in a particularly responsible position and authorized to perform state functions). In particular, he was accused of receiving improper income in the amount of 35 million dollars while serving as deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine from December 2013 of the year to January 2014 of the year. 10 January 2015, Zlochevsky was put on the national wanted list.
In the second half of 2014, as part of an ongoing investigation, the British Anti-Fraud Authority arrested the accounts of Brociti Investments LTD (part of the Burisma Group), which held 23,5 million dollars (recall, a little earlier, in April 2014 of the year, on the board of the Burisma Group John Biden’s son entered, Hunter). Wherein The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine did not timely provide the information requested by this British agency, which could confirm the illegal origin of funds, and Zlochevsky’s lawyers provided the court with false information about the legal origin of the arrested funds. This data was confirmed in his testimony by an accomplice of Zlochevsky and his lawyer, who participated in the falsification of documents. Due to the lack of evidence in January 2015, the London court overturned the arrest of these accounts. “Frozen” funds were immediately transferred to offshore accounts in Cyprus.
It should be noted that the draft request to the United Kingdom for the provision of international legal assistance and the continuation of the arrest of Brociti Investments LTD funds was waiting for Kasko to sign with December 31 2014. But he used his public office to delay the sending of this request, citing the need for its consideration and improvement. As a result, the final version of the document was sent to the British side only on January 21 2015 of the year, after a London court decided to cancel the arrest of accounts.
The former US ambassador to Ukraine, Jeffrey Payette [sic], commenting on this situation, called for an investigation into the “misconduct” of prosecutors who delayed providing data, but did not mention in a single word about the connection of the son of the US Vice President writes NYT.
In addition, in March 2015, in order to remove the issue of returning state ownership of Ukraine from the jurisdiction of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, the American side initiated the creation of an interdepartmental working group to coordinate the return to Ukraine of assets illegally obtained by former Ukrainian high-ranking officials. This group was led by Kasko. The only result of the group’s activity was the draft law “On the National Agency of Ukraine for the Identification and Management of Assets Assigned by Persons as a Result of Corruption and Other Crimes”. This document received a positive assessment of the US Department of Justice, but caused a lot of critical comments from the European Commission and Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine committees.
Despite strong criticism, this bill was passed by Parliament in November 2015. The law was signed by the President of Ukraine 9 December 2015 of the year, immediately after Joe Biden’s visit to Kiev (07-08 December 2015), which may indicate American pressure on the Ukrainian authorities.
Thus, the processes of collecting proceeds from crime were put under the control of representatives of the US State Department due to organizational and legal measures and were blocked for 2,5, which gave Zlochevsky and his foreign partners time to settle all issues with the Ukrainian authorities outside the court.
Law enforcement authorities of Ukraine under the influence of the United States
Another way to prevent the investigation of the criminal activities of former representatives of the Yanukovych regime was the creation of new law enforcement agencies to combat corruption, which are fully controlled by the American side – the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office.
In particular, the law on NABU was adopted a month before Joe Biden’s planned visit to Kiev, after which 20 million US dollars were allocated to Ukraine exclusively for anti-corruption reforms in the field of law enforcement. In addition, during negotiations with the Ukrainian government, the US Vice President assured that the Obama administration would consider allocating credit guarantees to Ukraine worth 1 billion US dollars in 2015 in the event that the creation of anti-corruption bodies was successfully completed under the conditions set by Washington.
Joe Biden also actively intervened in the process of appointing heads of established anti-corruption bodies. In particular, with the help of 16 on April 2015 of the year, Artem Sytnik, managing partner of Legal Guarantees, was appointed director of NABU. According to the information available, the main argument in favor of Sytnik was his consent to active cooperation with US government and law enforcement agencies.
In September 2017, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko accused NABU of illegally tapping 140 of Ukrainian officials from various branches of government. 24 January 2018, MP Borislav Rosenblatt, filed a lawsuit with the district administrative court of the city of Kiev with a request to invalidate Sytnik’s actions involving the involvement of FBI officers in intelligence operations in Ukraine without first concluding a relevant bilateral agreement. In addition, Sytnik was accused of initiating a criminal case against Alexander Onishchenko with the goal of removing companies under his control from the Ukrainian gas market in favor of Burisma Group.
Statements by his authorized persons, made in December 2017, about the possible termination of financial support for Ukraine by the United States in the event of Sytnik’s dismissal testify to Joe Biden’s interest in preserving Sytnik’s position as director of NABU.
After the creation of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in September 2015, Joe Biden, US Ambassador to Ukraine Jeffrey Payette [sic] and the leadership of the Ukrainian office of Transparency International openly lobbied Kasko’s appointment as head of this department, including by exerting pressure on members of the selection committee through non-governmental organizations and the media information. However, on November 30, 2015, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Viktor Shokin appointed Nazar Kholodnitsky to the post of his deputy and head of the specialized anti-corruption prosecutor’s office.
At the same time, Shokin organized and personally supervised the investigation into the facts of the corrupt activities of Zlochevsky and Joe Biden in Ukraine.
This caused Joe Biden’s sharp discontent and during his visit to Kiev 7-8 December 2015, the US Vice President in the ultimatum form demanded that the President of Ukraine dismiss Shokin, threatening to refuse to provide Ukraine credit guarantees in the amount of 1 billion dollars.
As a result, this pressure led to the resignation of Shokin in April 2016 of the year, which unblocked the processes of Ukraine receiving American financial assistance. 3 June 2016, the US government and Ukraine signed an agreement on the provision of loan guarantees in the amount of 1 billion dollars.
Moreover, Joe Biden actively used the capabilities of the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies he controls to fight his political opponents in the United States. In particular, it was NABU and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office that conducted a special information operation aimed at discrediting the head of Trump’s campaign headquarters Paul Manafort.
In the fall of 2016, in connection with the upcoming US presidential elections, and also because of his possible resignation, Joe Biden initiated activities aimed at ending the criminal prosecution of Zlochevsky and Burisma Holding Limited, since the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine achieved new arrests of the company’s assets.
First, Biden again tried to use the need of Ukraine for financial assistance. Thus, during his meeting with the President of Ukraine in the framework of the UN General Assembly (21.09.2016, New York), Biden said that the United States was ready to allocate another billion guarantees to 1. However, this proposal did not interest Kiev, since it was within the purview of the new administration of the US President, who was to be elected in less than two months.
As a result, an agreement was reached with Zlochevsky: they decided to stop criminal prosecution against him in exchange for transferring to the state budget of Ukraine part of the holding’s profit in the form of accrued additional taxes over the past years in the amount of UAH 180 million, which amounted to only a small amount of income received by the holding company in the result of criminal activity.” (Read more: Forum Daily, 3/26/3029)