Former Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s lawyer says current president Zelensky should respond to judicial summons
President Volodymyr Zelensky should appear in court after he is served with judicial summons, Ilia Novikov, a lawyer representing former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, said on the Ukraine 24 TV channel on Dec. 23.
Poroshenko is currently facing charges of treason following criminal proceedings initiated by Ukraine’s Prosecutor-General’s Office, which his supporters claim to be politically motivated. Prosecutors also allege that Poroshenko, on receiving official judicial summons in the case, simply got into his car and drove away.
Now, Poroshenko’s legal team has filed suit against Zelensky regarding what is being called the “Bihus tapes” – a leak received and published by investigative journalism site Bihus.Info in May.
The leaks are seemingly recordings made of oligarch and current treason suspect Viktor Medvedchuk, formerly the leader of Ukraine’s largest pro-Russian political party, which mention Ukraine’s fifth president. They allegedly implicate Poroshenko in colluding with Medvechuk to obtain coal supplies from Russian-occupied territories in the Donbas, as well as a prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia, and of attempting to regain control over the Ukrainian part of the Samara-Western Direction oil pipeline.
“We see what Mr. Bihus has got is actually a ‘leak’, and this is a violation of state secrets,” Novikov said. “But as far as we know, no proceedings have been initiated on this violation of state secrets.”
“And since Zelensky commented on this, the subject of the administrative claim is that he must expose the source of the information,” Novikov added. “If President Zelensky insists that someone is obliged to appear in court immediately after the summons are served, here is an example of him not appearing for questioning, and why the Supreme Court must summon him twice.”
Novikov added that “the meaning of these summons for us (the Poroshenko sideP, is to let people quickly see that with the narrative of today’s leadership that Poroshenko seemingly does not respect (the law enforcement agencies) or appear for questioning, this is a very symmetrical situation.”
Earlier, another member of Poroshenko’s legal team, Ihor Holovan, claimed that the Supreme Court of Ukraine was summoning President Zelensky to respond to inquiries contained in a lawsuit filed by his client. Poroshenko has demanded that both Zelensky, and Ukrainian journalist Denys Bihus, make public the original tapes.
The European Solidarity party, led by Poroshenko, has declared that the investigation was “orchestrated” by the President’s Office, which “is trying to sell the line about alleged Medvedchuk-Poroshenko collusion.”
“Zelensky’s enchanting interview with the Ukrainian 1+1 TV channel vividly confirmed the obvious assumption about the involvement of the President’s Office in the Bihus.Info footage with the so-called ‘Medvedchuk tapes,’” Holovan said, stressing his belief that any moves made by the president’s office were directed not at Medvedchuk or his associates, but exclusively against Zelensky’s main political rival, i.e. Poroshenko.
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