Ukraine’s SBI says Poroshenko, charged with treason, could face arrest on return to Ukraine
Petro Poroshenko, the previous president of Ukraine and current MP of the European Solidarity political party, could face arrest on his return to Ukraine on Jan. 17, Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigations or SBI wrote on their Telegram channel on Jan. 12.
Poroshenko has been officially charged with treason and supporting terrorism by the Prosecutor General’s Office, led by Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova – who is widely seen as an ally of the current president, Volodymyr Zelensky.
The SBI stated that Poroshenko had failed to appear in Kyiv’s Pechersk District Court, meaning that the investigating judge has not yet considered a motion to select possible restrictions against him.
“... The pretrial investigation bodies are counting on carrying out all the necessary procedural actions on the day of (Poroshenko’s) return, including applying restraining measures,” the agency said in the message.
Poroshenko’s failure to appear in court “can be regarded as one of the risks” which will give the investigating judge a basis for “applying the most severe measure of restraint,” the agency writes.
Earlier, Poroshenko’s lawyers demanded that a court hearing be scheduled for Jan. 17 so that their client could appear in court upon the return to Ukraine.
They believe the judges have already issued a ruling to arrest Poroshenko to bring him to court, although there are currently no grounds for this.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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