Former top prosecutor says court ruling not to arrest Poroshenko a failure for Prosecutor General’s Office

20 January, 11:10 PM
Former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko (Photo:REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

Former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko (Photo:REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

Ukrainian prosecutors suffered a failure when their attempt to obtain detention measures against former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who is currently suspected of treason, were rebuffed by the courts, former Prosecutor General of Ukraine Ruslan Riaboshapka told Radio NV on Jan. 19.

“The prosecutor’s office has failed in this situation since the court did not agree with such a bail amount or Poroshenko’s arrest,” he said, referring to the requested UAH 1 billion bail ($35 million) asked for by prosecutors.

“Obviously, the government has also failed with this decision, because we understand that the authorities wanted the decision stipulated in the prosecutor’s motion (to be made).”

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Riaboshapka believes that, while the courts and the prosecutor’s office is generally under the control of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s administration, “…judges have a self-preservation instinct ... and they try not to issue illegal decisions.”

At the same time, he added that the court, by its decision, had recognized that the treason charges against the former president were legitimate.

“According to the court, the investigation has enough evidence to conduct a probe into criminal proceedings under the articles: high treason, financing of terrorism, and assistance to terrorist activities, in which Poroshenko is suspected,” the former prosecutor general said, though he expressed the opinion that the legal underpinnings of the case are “absolute legal trash.”

“Since the case has no prospects in court, since the government has no opportunity to arrest Poroshenko and thus equate him with (pro-Russian MP Viktor) Medvedchuk (who is also being prosecuted for a similar crime) – to score some electoral points, most likely – the resonance in this case will gradually fade away and everyone will eventually forget about it,” Riaboshapka said.

High treason case against Poroshenko

Poroshenko has been charged with treason and providing support to terrorists over what the State Bureau of Investigation alleges was a scheme to sign contracts for coal supply from Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine, supposedly making “…Ukraine’s energy supply dependent on Russia and the Russia-controlled self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.”

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. It does not apply to his media holdings, or any ownership stake in the Roshen confectionary company.

Poroshenko, who had been outside the country on what his representatives said was a diplomatic tour to Poland and Turkey, returned to Ukraine on Jan. 17 from Warsaw. He immediately took part in a court hearing, but the judge’s ruling was delayed at the time.

On Jan. 19, Kyiv’s Pechersk District Court ruled not to arrest Poroshenko, although he was obliged to hand over his passport for traveling abroad, and appear in court on a judicial summons.

Following the court hearing, Poroshenko thanked his team and everyone who had arrived to the court building for their support. He also stressed that he considers President Zelensky his opponent, not an enemy.

The President’s Office said that the ruling against Poroshenko was evidence of the fairness of the courts.

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