11:07 21.11.2019

Ukrainian prosecutor general denies discussing Burisma inquiry with foreign reps

3 min read
Ukrainian prosecutor general denies discussing Burisma inquiry with foreign reps

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Ruslan Riaboshapka has said that he has not met or discussed the investigations into the energy company Burisma with representatives of other countries.

"I haven't met or discussed this with representatives of the administration of any foreign state... I haven't been asked any questions, haven't been pressured or given any requests," Riaboshapka said at a press briefing in Kyiv on Wednesday upon being asked whether he had met with members of U.S. President Donald Trump's administration in recent months to discuss the Burisma case.

Riaboshapka argued that there is no "Burisma case", but there are 13 criminal cases in which the country's former Ecology Minister and Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky is implicated and some of which mention Burisma.

After the Prosecutor's Office loses investigative functions, these cases, in accordance with their jurisdiction, will be transferred to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), the National Bureau of Investigation, and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), he said.

"There are 13 cases in which former Ecology Minister Zlochevsky is implicated. The name of this company is mentioned in some of these cases. Furthermore, some of these cases include words that mean the name of the person we have discussed [former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, who used to hold a seat on the Burisma board of directors]. What will happen to these cases next – they will be handed over in accordance with their jurisdiction. Some of them will be transferred to NABU, others perhaps to the National Bureau of Investigation, and the rest maybe to SBU: where they focus on financial terrorism or terrorist acts," he said.

Zlochevsky was ecology minister in the government led by then-Prime Minister Mykola Azarov in the period between July 2010 and April 2012. He left Ukraine in late 2014. In early 2015 it transpired that the Prosecutor General's Office had put him on the wanted persons list on suspicion of illegal enrichment.

The Prosecutor General's Office has investigated several criminal proceedings implicating Zlochevsky and sent one of the cases to NABU in 2015-2016.

In January 2017, Burisma said all procedural and judicial actions against its CEO Zlochevsky and the operational companies included in Burisma Group had been closed in Ukraine.

Media reported on February 1, 2018 that Zlochevsky had returned to Ukraine. On January 23, 2019 the Prosecutor General's Office summoned him for questioning as part of ongoing investigations and court proceedings.

Riaboshapka said in October this year that the Prosecutor General's Office is reviewing some 15 cases related to Burisma, including a case which mentions Hunter Biden, who once held a seat on the Ukrainian company's board of directors.

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