Former Ukraine president Poroshenko faces asset seizures, but plans to contest treason charges at ECHR
Kyiv’s Pechersk District Court has ordered the seizure of the property of the former Ukrainian president and current leader of European Solidarity political party, Petro Poroshenko, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported on Jan. 6 following a hearing at the court.
Poroshenko has been officially charged with treason and supporting terrorism by the Prosecutor General’s Office, led by Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova – who was appointed by President Volodymyr Zelensky and is seen as an ally of the current president.
Poroshenko denies the allegations.
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.
The full text of the court decision will be published at 1200 on Jan. 14, 2022, the court stated.
Poroshenko’s lawyer, Ihor Holovan, called the court’s ruling “absolute lawlessness and political persecution,” in a press release issued by the European Solidarity party.
The lawyer said the court’s decision would be appealed against, including in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
“There is political persecution of Petro Poroshenko going on,” he said. “The President’s Office is shocked, as recent ratings have shown that their future is bleak. And we see their aggravation. They are trying to go after Petro Poroshenko as much as possible…”
“We see absolute lawlessness, disregard for the rule of law aimed exclusively at one thing – to prevent the opposition leader from carrying out political activities,” the lawyer added.
Poroshenko is currently outside the country on what his representatives say is a diplomatic tour to Poland and Turkey, but has announced plans to return to Ukraine on Jan. 17.
High treason case against Poroshenko
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.
Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigations or SBI alleges that Poroshenko had 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 former president’s party, European Solidarity, have denied the charges against Poroshenko and accused incumbent Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of trying to repress his political opponents.
European Solidarity claimed Zelensky was using his “puppet SBI” to exact political revenge against Poroshenko, and that the president was putting pressure on law enforcement agencies.
Prosecutor General Venediktova has also been accused by both opposition parties and civil society activists of conducting biased or politically-motivated prosecutions in favor of Zelensky.
On Dec. 17 the SBI announced that Poroshenko had ignored a court summons related to a similar case. When SBI officials tried to hand him the summons, Poroshenko got into his car and drove off, the bureau said, though Poroshenko’s lawyers have disputed the SBI’s version of events.
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