14 January, 06:16 PM

Ukraine’s SBI says ex-president Poroshenko, pro-Russian politician Medvedchuk may be cross-examined

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who in late December was charged with treason, and pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, who is also being prosecuted for a similar crime, may be cross-examined at the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), the agency’s communications advisor Tetiana Sapian said at a briefing on Friday.

“As far as I know, the Criminal Procedure Code does not exclude such a possibility,” she said.

“And if there is an appropriate basis and if required, the investigators will collect the relevant facts and invite the said persons for cross-examination,” Sapian added.

The treason charges the former president is now facing stem from allegedly criminal schemes for importing coal from Russian-occupied areas of the Donbas region – formerly Ukraine’s key coal-mining region.

The SBI alleges that Poroshenko abused his power and influence to annul coal contracts with South Africa and later, at Russia’s behest, signed contracts for coal supply from the Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine, allegedly making “…Ukraine’s energy supply dependent on Russia and Russia-controlled self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.”

The case also involves charges against pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, who is under house arrest, and former Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn, who currently has a warrant out for his arrest.

The Poroshenko-founded European Solidarity opposition party have denied the charges against its leader, and accused incumbent Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of trying to repress his political opponents.

Kyiv’s Pechersk District Court on Jan. 6 ordered the seizure of the property owned by Poroshenko.

The property seized by the court includes several apartments in the cities of Vinnytsia and Kyiv, a manor house in the village of Kozyn, 25 kilometers to the south of the capital, land plots, and shares in private companies.

Poroshenko is outside the country at the moment on what his representatives say is a diplomatic tour to Poland and Turkey, but he has announced plans to return to Ukraine on Jan. 17.

Earlier, Poroshenko’s lawyers demanded that a court hearing be scheduled for Jan. 17 so that their client could appear in court upon his return to Ukraine.

They believe the judges have already issued a ruling to arrest Poroshenko to bring him to court, although no warrant has been publicly revealed.

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