NABU could not have influenced U.S. presidential elections, accusations part of political game – Sytnyk

The National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) could not have influenced the 2016 U.S. presidential elections and accusations that it could are part of a political game, NABU Director Artem Sytnyk has said.

"Our position is consistent starting in 2016, when these accusations first were heard. NABU could not have meddled in the U.S. elections in any way. Therefore, these accusations are part of a political game," he told journalists in Kyiv.

Sytnyk said that, unfortunately, Ukraine's Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko is playing a role in this game.

At a briefing on May 14, Lutsenko said actions by NABU Director Sytnyk to meddle in the American elections constituted at least a violation of political ethics. "Despite a special warning from his procedural leader, who is Nazar Kholodnytsky (head of the Special Anti-corruption Prosecutor's Office, SAPO), … despite legal requirements and elementary political ethics, Sytnyk then, during the middle of September 2016, told American media that [Paul] Manafort's name was on the lists of the so-called 'black ledger' of the Party of Regions. He did this knowing that Manafort's signature was not there," Lutsenko told journalists.

As reported, during the television program Pravo na Vladu (Right to Power) aired by the 1+1 television channel on March 15, 2019, Lutsenko said he had received a statement from non-aligned Member of Parliament of Ukraine Boryslav Rozenblat, who alleged that Sytnyk had transferred "black ledger" documents to the United States to support Hilary Clinton, a rival candidate to Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. Lutsenko said Ukraine's State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) would investigate.

On March 22, NABU said its agents had not gathered or transferred any evidence of wrongdoing involving Trump's ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort to anyone. NABU refuted Lutsenko's assertion about the possible influence (by NABU) on the U.S. presidential elections, calling it absurd.

In turn, Ukraine's Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) head Nazar Kholodnytsky said, "If he (Sytnyk) really saw himself as a geopolitical figure and helped Hillary, then it is necessary to draw conclusions. This is wrong ... I met with him [Sytnyk] in 2016 and talked with him at a conference in Panama. He also told me he wanted to help Hillary. He didn't answer when I asked him where he was and where Hillary was."

The leak of the records kept by the Party of Regions was a reason for Manafort's dismissal as Trump's campaign manager and became one of the key accusations in the investigation of collusion [between Trump campaign officials] with Russia. The case has been under investigation for the last two years.

According to The New York Times newspaper, Manafort's name is mentioned 22 times in the "black ledger," which indicates $12.7 million was paid to him from 2007 to 2012.

Kyiv's Pechersky district court on April 8, 2019, ordered a technical computer examination and analysis of audio records, on which a person with a voice resembling Sytnyk's is heard talking about his role during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.