MP Andriy Derkach: 'NABU Leaks' is the key for salvaging Ukraine-U.S. relations
Interview with MP Andriy Derkach for Interfax-Ukraine
Q: Earlier you were the initiator of the case on the interference of senior officials of Ukraine in the U.S. elections, in particular on the Regions Party's "black ledger." Now comes National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), the U.S. Embassy and Biden. Why do you need this?
A: Since 2016, Ukraine has been at the center of domestic politics and the political confrontation of its strategic partner, the United States. Today the situation has become threatening: in the United States, the impeachment process of incumbent President Donald Trump has begun. We hear, "Ukraine's influence will not lead to nothing good." This negatively affects Ukraine's reputation, both within the United States and on the international stage.
Therefore, the key task of my publication of the documents is restoring of trusting relations between strategic partners: the United States and Ukraine. Here, only an open and public investigation can put an end to the series of international scandals and corruption, in which some representatives of law enforcement and diplomatic bodies of the two countries are mired.
Q: How will the publication of these scandalous documents help Ukraine?
A: We must show the United States and other countries that we are interested in punishing those responsible so that the situation does not happen again. Figuratively speaking, today the key to improving relations between Ukraine and the United States and correcting the international image of our country is in the hands of law enforcement officers of Ukraine and its president.
You mentioned that I was the initiator of a criminal case on meddling in U.S. elections. Investigative journalists who are in possession of certain information passed it on to me. We are talking about correspondence between NABU employees and officials of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, the FBI, and others. And this data is not from the Internet. All this constitutes materials of criminal proceedings No. 42188000000002952 (Article 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which is 'high treason').
Q: What is the value of this information? Does it shed some new light on already known facts?
A: Today I unveiled an important part of the puzzle of interference in the U.S. elections and the facts of international corruption. It is correspondence of NABU employees and employees of the U.S. embassy.
According to the documents, the first deputy director of NABU, Gizo Uglava, through his assistant, provided the U.S. Embassy with information that influenced the course of events in Ukraine and the United States. In other words, NABU "leaked" information to the U.S. embassy staff and coordinated its actions in a number of high-profile cases.
Correspondence between NABU employees and employees of the U.S. Embassy has been available for several years within the criminal case file No. 42018000000002952 (Article 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, High Treason). According to the information received from investigative journalists, which I rechecked, it was obtained absolutely legally, as part of the investigative actions.
As for the documents I published regarding ex-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, these documents and information are contained in six criminal proceedings against the Burisma Group, as well as Mykola Zlochevsky No. 42014000000000181, 42015000000001142 , 42014000000000805, 42014000000000999, 42014000000001095, 42018000000000407.
There are also five more criminal proceedings for affiliation with the Burisma Group and Zlochevsky structures (contractors): No. 42015000000001283, 42014000000000375, 12017160000000208, 32014000000000074, 52018000000000748.
Once again I want to emphasize that it is important to keep the materials in the criminal proceedings.
Q: Can you give some examples?
A: One of the letters from Hanna Emelianova, the Legal Affairs Specialist in the Anti-Corruption Program of the U.S. Department of Justice at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, instructed Chyzh to provide information on the case of Mykola Zlochevsky, former Ecology Minister and Burisma Group owner.
Why is the Zlochevsky case so important? To answer this question, you need to go a little deeper into history.
In March 2014, the UK and Northern Ireland Serious Fraud Bureau launched an investigation into the Zlochevsky criminal case, suspecting him of laundering $35 million. At the same time, Zlochevsky, according to Ukrainian investigators and journalists, contacted U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry and suggested they share the profits of the Ukrainian gas producer Burisma Group.
British investigative journalist Oliver claimed that at about the same time (in March 2014) that Biden's son Hunter received an offer to take the position of board member of Burisma. Biden Jr. was appointed Member of the Board of Burisma on May 12, 2014. In addition to him, Alexander Kwasniewski, Alan Apter and Devon Archer were appointed.
In total, according to our data from the report of the financial investigation unit of Latvia, in favor of two shell companies, as well as Alexander Kwasniewski, Alan Apter, Devon Archer and Hunter Biden, Burisma paid at least $16.5 million.
Q:So far, you have listed people who are not directly related to the highest echelon of power in the United States. Biden can only be blamed for the fact that his adult son is involved here ...
A: Firstly, according to investigators, the son was "built into" the structure, which was headed by Biden Sr. I will return to this later.
And secondly, in the case file that was handed to me, there is evidence that Joe Biden probably received the money personally through a lobbying company. According to the investigation, he received a hidden fee from the Burisma Group for lobbying activities.
Money in the amount of more than $900,000 was transferred to the account of the American company Rosemont Seneca Partners, associated with Biden Jr. - Hunter. Reason for payment was consulting services.
In addition, Ukrainian investigators and journalists believe that Joe Biden, using existing levers of influence on the Ukrainian authorities and manipulating the issue of providing financial assistance to Ukraine, actively helped to close criminal cases against Zlochevsky and the Burisma Group.
Q: Okay, it is clear with Biden. And what does Ukraine have to do with it - it is a violation of U.S. law?
A: In general, this case would not concern Ukraine, if not for the pressure on the leaders of Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office (PGO).
On August 5, 2014, PGO's Directorate of Investigation of Especially Important Cases opened a criminal proceeding against Zlochevsky. He was suspected of illegal enrichment on an especially large scale and in tax evasion in the amount of about UAH 1 billion.
Last week, notes of U.S. Presidential Attorney Rudy Giuliani were published, suggesting that the investigation was terminated "because of fear of the United States." It also alleged that the then Attorney General Shokin was told that in the process of the investigation, Vice President Biden ordered to delay providing American assistance to Ukraine.
According to Viktor Shokin, he had a plan to investigate the activities of Hunter Biden, including interrogations and other procedures for all members of the board of the Burisma Group. Moreover, Shokin repeatedly appealed to the head of NABU Sytnik as part of the criminal proceedings against the company, but constantly received formal replies.
Shokin's activity caused Joe Biden's undisguised irritation. His fifth visit to Kyiv on December 7–8, 2015 was dedicated to resolving the issue of the resignation of Shokin due to the Zlochevsky case. The subject of pressure was $1 billion of loan guarantees that the United States was to provide to Ukraine.
Biden himself admitted the fact of pressure in his speech at the United States Council on Foreign Relations in January 2018, calling Shokin "the son of a bitch who should have been fired".
The chronology of events also attests to the linking of the Zlochevsky case to credit guarantees by the United States. Judge for yourself.
In December 2015, Biden visited Kyiv. On February 19, 2016 the President of Ukraine asks the parliament to agree to dismiss Shokin. On March 29, the parliament agrees and on April 3, the President of Ukraine signed a decree dismissing Shokin.
On June 3, the U.S. and Ukrainian governments signed a $1 billion loan guarantee agreement.
Q: Let's go back to NABU – is it somehow involved in this story?
A: According to the investigation, NABU under the supervision of the United States continued the persecution of Viktor Shokin. Starting from September 6, 2016, the assistant to the first deputy director of NABU Polina Chyzh sent to her manager documents proving that data was collected on the former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin and his family.
Also, Polina Chyzh agreed on with the U.S. Embassy in the person of Olena Kustova the content of responses to requests from MPs regarding the audit of NABU.
There is evidence that the assistant to the first deputy director of NABU sent for approval to the U.S. embassy a draft suspicion of Roman Nasirov, who was reportedly close to Trump's team. By the way, it is noteworthy that the suspicion of Nasirov was formed just after he attended the inauguration ceremony of Donald Trump, and the arrest of Nasirov was supervised at that time by the U.S. Embassy personally.
Also, an employee of NABU provided a list of problem proceedings, which are being on aligning by the embassy.
I can't imagine the situation for, for example, if Ukraine's Embassy in the United States instructed the FBI how to generate reports and responses to requests from Congressmen. I also cannot imagine that the FBI leaked high-profile criminal cases to our embassy.
Q: Is that everything that you have at the moment?”
A: You can't embrace everything at one press conference and in one interview. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The remaining materials I will gradually post on my Facebook page.
Q: In your opinion, why did we find ourselves in such a difficult situation in relations with the United States?
A: First of all, it is fault of the former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. As a result of his actions, our country and the new President Zelensky were drawn into the scandal involving interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the fact that Ukraine is accused of international corruption. I emphasize that international corruption of this magnitude could not take place without the participation of Petro Poroshenko.
Since Ukraine is a parliamentary republic, it parliament, in my opinion, that should evaluate these facts.
Today, maintaining good and trusting relations with the United States is a matter of national security for our state, regardless of who wins the election there.
In order to restore trust between Ukraine and the United States, an urgent public investigation of the facts of interference in the U.S. elections is needed. It is necessary to investigate all possible facts of corruption by senior officials of Ukraine and the United States with the involvement of law enforcement agencies and representatives of diplomatic services.
Q: You made the facts public and expect that everything will happen by its own later on?
A: Of course not. Firstly, I appealed to the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and the PGO, relaying the facts with a request to conduct an investigation and demanding that the case files not disappear, as the case of international corruption in the gas sector was lost. I also initiated the removal of Gizo Uglava and his assistant from duties during the investigation.
By the way, if the Prosecutor General does not initiate an investigation on the fact of media coverage of information about pressure on Shokin, as an employee of a law enforcement agency, then I myself will write a request for signs of offenses under Article 343 of the Criminal Code "Interference with the activities of a law enforcement officer" (influence in any form on a law enforcement officer).
Secondly, in the near future I will send parliament leaders a draft resolution on the creation of a Temporary Investigation Commission of parliament to investigate the facts regarding the illegal interference of the leadership of law enforcement agencies of Ukraine in the U.S. election process, as well as the facts of international corruption of government officials, which jeopardized U.S.-Ukraine relations.
Once again, I want to emphasize that the former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko is personally responsible for the situation when Ukraine was drawn into corruption scandals in the international level, was accused of interference in the U.S. Presidential election process. Volodymyr Zelensky inherited a corrupt and difficult legacy for Ukraine…
Q: What can President Zelensky do in connection with all this?
A: In my opinion, the only right solution for our country and for the president is to take a number of steps. The first is to immediately transfer, within the framework of legal cooperation, all available documents to the U.S. Justice Department. The second is to prohibit bidding and contacts at the level of lawyers-lobbyists-assistants. And the third is to create an Investigation Commission in parliament, the findings of which should be provided to Ukrainian society and the international community.
Q: And how's it going with the case about the intervention in the U.S. elections initiated by you?
A: On July 24, 2017, I filed an appeal with the General Prosecutor Office on illegal interference in the election of the President of the United States. Because of the appeal, the PGO registered a criminal proceeding.
In the course of investigative actions in this criminal case, I handed over part of the documents, and told the investigator the possible direction and methods of the investigation. Unfortunately, in January 2019, in the midst of the election campaign in Ukraine, criminal case No. 42017000000002470 was closed. I appealed the closure decision in March in the Pechersk court. The trial is scheduled for October 21.
NABU-Leaks is the key to saving Ukraine's relations with the United States. I hope that publicity will help overcome existing resistance. Nevertheless, this must be done because how Ukraine will be treated in the near future depends on it.