The Office of the Prosecutor-General of Ukraine seeks to arrest Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s President from 2014 to 2019, with a bail of UAH 1 bn ($36,7 mn), Ukrinform reported.
Oleksiy Symonenko, serving as acting Prosecutor General in the absence of Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, signed the arrest warrant. Symonenko had also signed a notice of suspicion for Poroshenko with which the former president was charged with terrorism and aiding terrorist organizations on 20 December.
As well, Kyiv’s Pechersk District Court sanctioned Mr. Poroshenko’s arrest to bring him to the court for establishing a preventive measure.
Petro Poroshenko recorded a video response denying any wrongdoing. The former President and now leader of the opposition European Solidarity party is abroad and plans to return to Kyiv in early January.
The US Embassy in Ukraine wrote that the US “is closely following the case against former President Poroshenko. Crucial that process and outcome be based on the rule of law, not politics.” Melinda Simmons, British Ambassador to Ukraine, tweeted a similar message.
According to the State Bureau of Investigation, Poroshenko is suspected of facilitating the activities of the terrorist organizations “Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics” (“LDNR”), acting under a conspiracy of a group of individuals which included representatives of the top leadership of the Russian Federation.
He is charged under three articles of the Criminal Code: financing terrorism, state treason, and aiding the activities of terrorist organizations. If found guilty, Poroshenko could face 15 years of jail with possible confiscation of property.
Throughout October-November 2021, Ukraine’s Security Service and State Bureau of Investigation leveled similar charges against pro-Russian MP Viktor Medvedchuk and former Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Volodymyr Demchyshyn.
For Medvedchuk, the prosecutor’s office requested a measure of restraint in the form of detention or bail of UAH 1 bn ($36.7 mn). The court, however, chose round-the-clock house arrest as the measure of restraint.
Former Minister Demchyshyn is currently wanted.
Earlier, on 21 December, the Anti-Monopoly Committee of Ukraine imposed a $10.3 million fine on three Poroshenko-linked companies — Interstarch Ukraine LLC, Dnipropetrovsk KPK PJSC, Interkorn PJSC. The antimonopoly agency stated these companies are “related to the relationship of control through the ultimate beneficial owner, Petro Poroshenko.”
These companies claim that the fine imposed is nothing but a politically motivated attack.
The fact that Ukraine’s antimonopoly agency fined the three companies right after Ukraine’s acting Prosecutor-General had accused Mr. Poroshenko of high treason and aiding terrorism raises reasonable concern that this may be official Kyiv’s attack on Poroshenko as Zelenskyy’s key political opponent.
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