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General Prosecutor seat for a billion? – Shokin case

Viktor Shokin former General Prosecutor of Ukraine

The Front News International news agency published leaked documents on alleged intervention of US officials in the internal affairs of Ukraine, describing an episode of then the US Vice President Joe Biden conditioning President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko for a $ 1 billion loan with the replacement of Attorney General Viktor Shokin.  The application of pressure could be explained by the position of Biden’s son in the British company Burisma, which belonged to fugitive Minister of Ecology Nikolai Zlochevsky, against whom the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine led the money laundering investigation. After the replacement of Shokin by Yuri Lutsenko, accusations against Zlochevsky were reduced to tax evasion, and in 2016 charges against him and his company were dropped.

The NGO “Association of International Law” lawyers in Ukraine presented the results of an examination of Biden’s statements, which, according to US media, he made during a conversation with Poroshenko.The story of Biden’s attempt of influence on August 22, 2016, The Atlantic published material “the Biden Doctrine” in which journalist Steve Clemons cites a fragment of talks on the replacement of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General between US Vice President and Poroshenko.

“He (Biden) describes, for example, a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, whom he calls Petro,” Clemons writes.

“Petro, you will not get your billion dollars … Well, okay, you can leave the Attorney General, just keep in mind that in this case we will not pay if you leave,” – quotes Biden’s words the journalist.

According to the scientific and legal findings of the study, “the statement of US Vice President Joseph Biden on the need to dismiss the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, V.M. Shokin, as a condition for allocating appropriate financial (economic) assistance to Ukraine, can be viewed as putting pressure on the president of Ukraine, and therefore this pressure can be qualified as an act of interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine by a foreign state, which violates one of the principles of international law (The UN Declaration on the inadmissibility of interference in the internal affairs of states, the protection of their independence and sovereignty – Ed.) “.

The Front International claims In March last year, three Americans came to the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine – two representatives of Blue Star Strategies Karen Tramontano and Sally Piinter, as well as a lawyer from New York, John Buretta, who, according to official information, arrived “to apologize for distributing untruthful information by certain US and Biden’s representatives regarding the activities of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine to investigate the “Zlochevsky case”. The company Blue Star Strategies is engaged in lobbying business in state bodies, continues Front News, and Tramontano and Piinter worked in the administration of US President Bill Clinton. Accroding to the news agency they managed to discover that Tramontano was a shareholder of Dutko Worldwide, which changed its name to Grayling USA, which also engages in lobbying business in state bodies and whose key activity is energy.

Investigation of the “Zlochevsky case”

Minister of Ecology, the time of the fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych, Nikolai Zlochevsky, issued for his own company – Burisma Holdings Limited, a special permit for the extraction of a third of the gas produced in Ukraine. Zlochevsky left Ukraine after Yanukovych. In the spring of 2014, the Prosecutor General’s Office opened a criminal case against him and his company upon a request of the UK prosecutor’s office, requesting assistance in the investigation of Zlochevsky alleged $ 35 million money laundering. The UK law enforcement officers blocked assets on the accounts of its companies for a total of $ 23.5 million.

Amid  EuroMaidan, Zlochevsky created the Board of Directors in Burisma, introducing son of US Vice President Hunter Biden, the appointment falling later under investigation of the Prosecutor General Shokokin,whose activities were interputed by his dismissal, after pressure applied by outside players, inluding Joe Biden.

The Front News International source in the General Prosecutor’s Office reported that Joe Biden promised twice to bring evidence about the alleged corruption of Shokin, which would have served as a reason for his dismissal, but not a single fact of corruption was provided. Another source close to investigation source said that the US Vice President asked to close the “Zlochevsky case” and offered Yuriy Lutsenko to the post of head of the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Answering the question about the legitimacy of dismissing Shokin, the president of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio in an exclusive comment to Front News International stated that all charges of this kind should be proven.

“Every accusation of this kind must be proven, with clear evidence,” Buquicchio said.

Shokin’s claim to reinstate the post of Prosecutor General

In early March 2017, Shokin appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine with a lawsuit against the Verkhovna Rada and the President about the recognition of his dismissal as illegal. Also, the lawsuit provides for the restoration of Shokin in an administrative position. However on February 20, the judiciary board of the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine, headed by Judge Moroz, left the claim without consideration. On the eve of the court session, the Ukrainian media disseminated information, claiming  on April 4 the General Prosecutor’s Office opened a criminal investigation into the fact that officials of the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine sent untrue statements to the automated document circulation system of the court, in the period from 2016 to 2017. The documents of the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine referred to the administrative claim of the “Association of Self-Organization Organizations of the Population of the City of Kiev” against the Kyiv City Council, which was also examined by Judge Moroz.

The lawyer of the “AKITO Law Firm” wrote a statement addressed to the director of the NABU Artem Sytnik that the officials of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine, using their official position, interfered with the legitimate activities of the judge of the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine Valentin Moroz.

“Officials of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine, in order to force the judges of the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine to make the necessary decision to refuse to satisfy the lawsuit of Shokin by any unlawful reasons, influenced the consciousness and will of the judges of the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine and personally of Judge Moroz during the consideration and decision on the case,” the lawyers said in a statement.

The statement also refers to the fact that officials of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine, abusing their official position, interfered in the activities of the judges of the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine and, in particular, of Judge Moroz, which resulted in an inappropriate decision on the administrative case.

Lawyers declare that by such actions the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine officers committed criminal offenses related to interference in the activities of the judiciary.

These conclusions are confirmed by the General Prosecutor’s Office of April 28, 2017 response, explaining that the Department of Special Investigations is actually conducting a pre-trial investigation on these facts about alleged interference into the work of the automated distribution of the appel in the case of the “Association of Self-Organization Bodies of the City of Kyiv to the Kyiv City Council.

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