National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU)

March 20, 2019 – Senior Ukrainian official opens probe into US 2016 election interference on behalf of Hillary Clinton

Yuriy Lutsenko (Credit: Reuters)

“Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko told Hill.TV’s John Solomon in an interview aired on Wednesday that he has opened a probe into alleged attempts by Ukrainians to interfere in the United States’ 2016 presidential election.

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said last week.

Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

Hill.TV has also reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, NABU, and Clinton’s spokesperson for comment.

“According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” Lutsenko said.

“It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton,” he continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine’s parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s wrongdoing in Ukraine.” (Video: The Hill, 3/20/2019)

March 20, 2019 – As Russia collusion fades, a Ukrainian plot to help Clinton emerges

Yuriy Lutsenko (Credit: Hill TV/Rising)

“After nearly three years and millions of tax dollars, the Trump-Russia collusion probe is about to be resolved. Emerging in its place is newly unearthed evidence suggesting another foreign effort to influence the 2016 election — this time, in favor of the Democrats.

Ukraine’s top prosecutor divulged in an interview aired Wednesday on Hill.TV that he has opened an investigation into whether his country’s law enforcement apparatus intentionally leaked financial records during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign about then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in an effort to sway the election in favor of Hillary Clinton.

The leak of the so-called black ledger files to U.S. media prompted Manafort’s resignation from the Trump campaign and gave rise to one of the key allegations in the Russia collusion probe that has dogged Trump for the last two and a half years.

Ukraine Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko’s probe was prompted by a Ukrainian parliamentarian’s release of a tape recording purporting to quote a top law enforcement official as saying his agency leaked the Manafort financial records to help Clinton’s campaign.

The parliamentarian also secured a court ruling that the leak amounted to “an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” Lutsenko told me. Lutsenko said the tape recording is a serious enough allegation to warrant opening a probe, and one of his concerns is that the Ukrainian law enforcement agency involved had frequent contact with the Obama administration’s U.S. Embassy in Kiev at the time.

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko told me.

Lutsenko, before becoming prosecutor general, was a major activist against Russia’s influence in his country during the tenure of Moscow-allied former President Viktor Yanukovych. He became chief prosecutor in 2016 as part of anti-corruption reforms instituted by current President Petro Poroshenko, an ally of the U.S. and Western countries.

(…) Furthermore, the mystery of how the Manafort black ledger files got leaked to American media has never been solved. They surfaced two years after the FBI investigated Manafort over his Ukraine business activities but declined to move forward in 2014 for lack of evidence.

We now have strong evidence that retired British spy Christopher Steele began his quest in what ultimately became the infamous Russia collusion dossier with a series of conversations with top Justice Department official Bruce Ohr between December 2015 and February 2016 about securing evidence against Manafort.

We know the FBI set up shop in the U.S. embassy in Kiev to assist its Ukraine–Manafort inquiry — a common practice on foreign-based probes — while using Steele as an informant at the start of its Russia probe. And we know Clinton’s campaign was using a law firm to pay an opposition research firm for Steele’s work in an effort to stop Trump from winning the presidency, at the same time Steele was aiding the FBI.

Those intersections, coupled with the new allegations by Ukraine’s top prosecutor, are reason enough to warrant a serious, thorough investigation.” (Read more: The Hill, 3/20/2019)

March 20, 2019 – Top Ukrainian justice official says they have evidence of wrongdoing by Americans re 2016 election interference and obstruction of criminal probes

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch (Credit: public domain)

“Ukrainian law enforcement officials believe they have evidence of wrongdoing by American Democrats and their allies in Kiev, ranging from 2016 election interference to obstructing criminal probes. But, they say, they’ve been thwarted in trying to get the Trump Justice Department to act.

Kostiantyn Kulyk, deputy head of the Prosecutor General’s International Legal Cooperation Department, told me he and other senior law enforcement officials tried unsuccessfully since last year to get visas from the U.S. Embassy in Kiev to deliver their evidence to Washington.

“We were supposed to share this information during a working trip to the United States,” Kulyk told me in a wide-ranging interview. “However, the [U.S.] ambassador blocked us from obtaining a visa. She didn’t explicitly deny our visa, but also didn’t give it to us.”

One focus of Ukrainian investigators, Kulyk said, has been money spirited unlawfully out of Ukraine and moved to the United States by businessmen friendly to the prior, pro-Russia regime of Viktor Yanukovych.

Ukrainian businessmen “authorized payments for lobbying efforts directed at the U.S. government,” he told me. “In addition, these payments were made from funds that were acquired during the money-laundering operation. We have information that a U.S. company was involved in these payments.” That company is tied to one or more prominent Democrats, Ukrainian officials insist.

In another instance, he said, Ukrainian authorities gathered evidence that money paid to an American Democrat allegedly was hidden by Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) during the 2016 election under pressure from U.S. officials. “In the course of this investigation, we found that there was a situation during which influence was exerted on the NABU, so that the name of [the American] would not be mentioned,” he said.

Ukraine is infamous for corruption and disinformation operations; its police agencies fight over what is considered evidence of wrongdoing. Kulyk and his bosses even have political fights over who should and shouldn’t be prosecuted. Consequently, allegations emanating from Kiev usually are taken with a grain a salt.

But many of the allegations shared with me by more than a half-dozen senior Ukrainian officials are supported by evidence that emerged in recent U.S. court filings and intelligence reports. The Ukrainians told me their evidence includes:

  • Sworn statements from two Ukrainian officials admitting that their agency tried to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election in favor of Hillary Clinton. The effort included leaking an alleged ledger showing payments to then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort;
  • Contacts between Democratic figures in Washington and Ukrainian officials that involved passing along dirt on Donald Trump;
  • Financial records showing a Ukrainian natural gas company routed more than $3 million to American accounts tied to Hunter Biden, younger son of then-Vice President Joe Biden, who managed U.S.-Ukraine relations for the Obama administration. Biden’s son served on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma Holdings;
  • Records that Vice President Biden pressured Ukrainian officials in March 2016 to fire the prosecutor who oversaw an investigation of Burisma Holdings and who planned to interview Hunter Biden about the financial transfers;
  • Correspondence showing members of the State Department and U.S. Embassy in Kiev interfered or applied pressure in criminal cases on Ukrainian soil;
  • Disbursements of as much as $7 billion in Ukrainian funds that prosecutors believe may have been misappropriated or taken out of the country, including to the United States.

Ukrainian officials say they don’t want to hand the evidence to FBI agents working in Ukraine because they believe the bureau has a close relationship with the NABU and the U.S. Embassy. “It is no secret in Ukrainian political circles that the NABU was created with American help and tried to exert influence during the U.S. presidential election,” Kulyk told me.

Kulyk’s boss, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, told me he has enough evidence — particularly involving Biden, his family and money spirited out of Ukraine — to warrant a meeting with U.S. Attorney General William Barr. “I’m looking forward to meeting with the attorney general of the United States in order to start and facilitate our joint investigation regarding the appropriation of another $7 billion in U.S. dollars with Ukrainian legal origin,” Lutsenko said.” (Read more: The Hill, 4/07/2019)

February 2019 – A new document reveals Ukraine officials had already reopened probe of Hunter Biden-linked firm months before Trump phone call

“A newly unearthed document shows that Ukrainian officials had opened a new probe into the firm linked to Hunter Biden months before President Trump’s phone call with that country’s leader, contributor John Solomon reported late Tuesday.

Solomon said Tuesday on “Hannity” that the U.S. government knew Ukraine was planning to look again into activities at Burisma Holdings, an energy company that employed then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son as a member of its board of directors, early this year. The report is noteworthy because President Trump has been accused by Democrats of threatening in July to withhold foreign aid to Ukraine unless its new president pursued an investigation into the company and the younger Biden’s role there.

“The U.S. government had open-source intelligence and was aware as early as February of 2019 that the Ukrainian government was planning to reopen the Burisma investigation,” he claimed. “This is long before the president ever imagined having a call with President Zelensky,” he added, noting Petro Poroshenko was still Ukraine’s president at that time.

“This is a significant shift in the factual timeline.”

Solomon said the information he obtained, including documents shown on “Hannity” Tuesday, was omitted from a U.S. intelligence community whistleblower’s complaint lodged against Trump last month.

Solomon said that NABU — an FBI-like anti-corruption agency in Ukraine — requested the probe into Burisma and owner Mykola Zlochevsky be reopened earlier this year. The investigation then went forward, Solomon said. The new probe later resulted in a “Notice of Suspicion” being filed, alleging the existence of “illicit funds” running through the firm, Solomon also claimed.” (Read more: Fox News, 10/09/2019)

October 14, 2014 – The National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) is formed in Ukraine, with Joe Biden and the FBI’s help

(…) “Following the successful overthrow of Yanukovych, Joe Biden had a direct hand in the formation of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), as he personally “pushed for the creation of an independent anti-corruption bureau to combat graft,” according to an Oct. 30, 2016, article by Foreign Policy.

NABU was formally established in October 2014 in response to pressure from not only the U.S. State Department and Biden, but also by the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission.

FBI instructors train NABU special forces in SWAT tactics in July 2016. (Credit: public domain)

Despite the international push, the fledgling anti-corruption unit took more than a year to actually become a functioning unit. During this time, NABU officials began establishing a relationship with the FBI. In early 2016, NABU Director Sytnyk announced that his bureau was very close to signing a memorandum of cooperation with the FBI and by February 2016, the FBI had a permanent representative onsite at the NABU offices.

On June 5, 2016, Sytnyk met with U.S. Ambassador Pyatt to discuss a more formalized relationship with the FBI and, on June 30, 2016, NABU and the FBI entered into a memorandum of understanding that allowed for an FBI office onsite at NABU offices to focus on international money laundering cases. The relationship was renewed for an additional two years in June 2017.

NABU has repeatedly refused to make the memorandum of understanding with the FBI public and went to court in 2018 to prevent its release. After receiving an unfavorable opinion from the Kyiv District Administrative Court, NABU appealed the ruling, which was overturned in its favor by the Sixth Administrative Court of Appeal.

Sytnyk, along with parliamentarian Leshchenko, became the subject of an investigation in Ukraine and in December 2018, a Kyiv court ruled that both men “acted illegally when they revealed that Manafort’s surname and signature were found in the so-called black ledger of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions,” the Kyiv Post reported on Dec. 12, 2018.

The court noted the material was part of a pre-trial investigation and its release “led to interference in the electoral processes of the United States in 2016 and harmed the interests of Ukraine as a state.”

Leshchenko had publicly adopted a strong anti-Trump stance, telling the Financial Times in August 2016 that “a Trump presidency would change the pro-Ukrainian agenda in American foreign policy” and that it was “important to show not only the corruption aspect but that he is [a] pro-Russian candidate who can break the geopolitical balance in the world.” Leschenko noted that the majority of Ukrainian politicians were “on Hillary Clinton’s side.”

In December 2017, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Lutsenko accused Sytnyk of allowing the FBI to conduct illegal operations in Ukraine, claiming that the “U.S. law enforcers were allegedly invited without the permission required and in breach of the necessary procedures.” Lutsenko continued by asking, “Who actually let the foreign special service act in Ukraine?”

Taras Chornovil, a Ukrainian political analyst, also questioned the FBI’s activities, writing that “some kind of undercover operations are being conducted in Ukraine with direct participation (or even under control) of the FBI. This means the FBI operatives could have access to classified data or confidential information.”

Lutsenko called for an audit of NABU, claiming to “possess information of interest to the auditors” and was pushing for Sytnyk’s resignation, along with that of Nazar Kholodnitskiy, the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAP). According to reporting by Euromaidan Press, Lutsenko’s efforts failed “thanks to the reaction from Ukraine’s American partners.”

Michael Carpenter, an adviser to Joe Biden, personally issued a public warning to Lutsenko and others pushing for Sytnyk’s removal, stating, “If the Rada votes to dismiss the head of the Anticorruption Committee and the head of the NABU, I will recommend cutting all U.S. government assistance to #Ukraine, including security assistance.”

Sytnyk remains in his position as NABU’s director.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 4/26/2019)

May 7, 2014 – September 21, 2016: Joe Biden’s influence over law enforcement in Ukraine

Google Chrome translation:

(…) “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.

Joe Biden and Nikolai Zlochevsky (Credit Forum Daily/Ukraine)

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.

Vitaly Kasko (Credit: public domain)

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)