Poroshenko is suspected in the usurpation and abuse of power when appointing the deputy head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine. The accusation has no clear grounds since such an appointment is under the direct purview of the president
Accusation of exceeding power
The notice of suspicion as presented by the Prosecutor General also states that Poroshenko is suspected of “instructing the official – the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service – to exceed his power and official authority” by appointing the second person as the deputy head of the Intelligence Service when one man had already been appointed for this post. The notice of suspicion also states:
“Poroshenko, for reasons of personal interests, consisting in the desire to establish a kind of state regime in which state power is concentrated in the hands of an unaccountable group of people, had a direct intention to seize state power by appointing persons under his control to the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine.”
Yet, the next paragraph of the document states that according to the law the Foreign Intelligence Service is controlled by the president, as defined by the Constitution. In summary, the investigators claim Poroshenko wanted to seize state power by appointing personnel to the service he was legally responsible for as the president. “The organizational structure of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine is determined by the President of Ukraine,” is the wording of the law, which also says that Presidents appoint staff to the Intelligence Service.
The only minor violation that indeed could have occurred would be that Poroshenko appointed the deputy head for Intelligence Service without the required statement in advance from the head of the Service. Nevertheless, there is no argument as to how such an appointment could have provided personal benefit or how it could have expanded Poroshenko’s power over the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine that he was already controlling completely as the sitting president.
Called in for an interrogation, handed a notice of suspicion instead
On 10 June 2020, Poroshenko appeared at the State Bureau of Investigations (DBR) for interrogation as a witness in another case — no less absurd — regarding his allegedly smuggling paintings, when they were immediately thereafter presented in a public exhibition.
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However, instead of the scheduled interrogation, the prosecutors tried to deliver the notice of suspicion mentioned above. As viewed in the video published by the DBR, an unknown person preemptively began reading the note. Poroshenko’s attorney, Illia Novikov, demanded the prosecutors provide official documents of authority. Since they did not, Poroshenko and Novikov refused any further dialog and left. The official DBR video consists of several fragments so that it is hard to garner the chronology of events and establish whether the notice was provided according to legal procedure. Novikov stated that in the absence of proof the DBR can not claim that a notice of suspicion was legally served.
At the time of the scheduled interrogation — that did not occur — protesters and journalists were waiting for Poroshenko at the main entrance of the DBR. His supporters from the European Solidarity party placed a collection of satirical caricatures on display. They ridicule Zelenskyy, Venediktova, and DBR Deputy Director Oleksandr Babikov (who prior to assuming this position was the lawyer of fugitive ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, who escaped to Russia during the Euromaidan revolution and was put on trial by Ukraine) posing as different figures in world-famous masterpieces.
After the attempt to serve Poroshenko with the notice of suspicion that would have theoretically opened the door for his detention, Poroshenko visited Prosecutor General Venediktova. According to the former president, a discussion took place but no public record was shared.
Oleksandr Lemenov, a lawyer from StateWatch NGO, has also confirmed that the notice of suspicion for Poroshenko has no basis at all. He emphasized that there is no way to determine whether the notice was served on Poroshenko appropriately, since the DBR video is heavily cut. He adds that, in fact, the whole event was a media story and totally absurd:
“The one side and its opposite side play as a purely media story. They [Zelenskyy’s team] are trying to satisfy the electorate in any way — trying to make Poroshenko the main enemy. But Poroshenko in turn is beating them. It seems to me that this is the second time he has overcome them in public. The first time was with the paintings [that the DBR announced had been smuggled by Poroshenko, but then immediately were presented by him to the public at an open exhibition].”
Other pictures from the exhibition are pictured below; you can get a sense of the atmosphere in this video.
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