MP Leshchenko claims Lutsenko invented story about Biden, Zlochevsky to remain prosecutor general
Member of Parliament Serhiy Leshchenko claims Ukraine's Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko invented a conspiracy around ex-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and ex-Ukrainian Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky for Lutsenko to remain prosecutor general under Volodymyr Zelensky's future presidency.
Personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump Rudolph ("Rudy") Giuliani was allegedly involved in the Lutsenko scheme, the Ukrainian MP said.
"I can assume Lutsenko's plan is simple: spinning a story around Biden and Zlochevsky. It also turns out that [ex-U.S. State Department Secretary John] Kerry and his stepson are involved in order to show that there is a person in Ukraine who helps current U.S. officials to spot corrupt American officials. This is the story that will be hyped... Lutsenko began to apply all levers of pressure on the new president [Volodymyr Zelensky], so that he would not ask for Lutsenko's dismissal, so that he would not be forced to leave, so that he would stay and keep the situation under control," Leshchenko told journalists at the Kyiv District Administrative Court on Monday. The case the court had been scheduled to hear was cancelled, because the presiding judge was transferred to the Supreme Court.
Leshchenko also claims that the so-called "black ledger" of the Party of Regions, in which Trump's 2016 U.S. election campaign manager Paul Manafort's name appears, is a genuine document.
"It is part of the evidence of corruption in Ukrainian politics. Unfortunately, the prosecutor general constantly tells lies to earn points, hoping to stay in office," he said.
"They agreed to use Ukraine as a bargaining chip ... in the battles that are now taking place in U.S. politics between Democrats and Republicans. In particular, an internal memo was prepared, which was handed over to Giuliani, with many facts they established relating to Biden receiving certain material benefits, to his certain collusion with Ukrainian politicians."
Leshchenko says the memo was sent via unofficial channels from Lutsenko's allies to Giuliani.
"In March 2014, through lobbying channels that Zlochevsky allegedly offered Kerry and Biden to share profits from [Zlochevsky's] company Burisma. …The money was allegedly paid to Biden's son and a close friend of Kerry's stepson," Leshchenko said, citing the memo. According to the memo, in exchange for guarantees from Ukrainian officials, Joe Biden suggested that "he would try to be a mediator between the Ukrainian authorities and the new president of America," Leshchenko says.
The memo also says that during Joe Biden's last visit to Kyiv in January 2017, he tried to get guarantees from Ukrainian officials that there were no claims against Burisma.
Leshchenko said the accuracy of the facts laid out in the internal memo is doubtful, and that Lutsenko has "pulled Ukraine into a dirty game." "The prosecutor general with the help of his friends, contacts and intermediaries contacted Giuliani, and they built that logic. From the point of view of banal political logic, it doesn't look like a truthful story, but it's been prepared and it is loaded. That's the first part of a scenario, which Lutsenko offered Trump's personal lawyer," the MP said.
Leshchenko said MP Boryslav Rozenblat was "a tool used in the scenario played out by Lutsenko and [outgoing President Petro] Poroshenko." Lutsenko said Rozenblat is "on the hook over a criminal case against him." "In a normal country, he would be jailed. But, to avoid jail, Rozenblat became an instrument for playing out the scenario and filed this lawsuit," Leshchenko said.
Rozenblat, in turn, told journalists that the situation shows "Ukraine has meddled in another country's elections." "I could care less about the fate of Manafort and those who represent American politics. What's important to me is my country," he said.
Asked where he received audio recordings of National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine Director Artem Sytnyk talking about meddling in U.S. elections, Rozenblat said, "This package was brought to me in the reception room. There were transcripts of the conversations and a flash drive."
Explaining why he is the plaintiff in the case, Rozenblat said, "I'm a victim as a parliamentarian who cares about the future of Ukraine."
"The 'black ledger' is just one more leak of the mass media circus in order to give a signal. And the person who was in charge of Trump's election campaign has suffered… That was a deliberate, premeditated act to involve Ukraine in a scandal," Rozenblat said, adding that the case against him brought by NABU was the result of "deliberate persecution for [my] political activities."