14:47 16.10.2019

Panama prosecutor's office closes case initiated by Portnov against Poroshenko opened in connection with false statements by Portnov – lawyer

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(Headline changed, text after paragraph seven added)

KYIV. Oct 16 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The Panama prosecutor's office has closed the criminal case on the statement of former deputy head of the presidential administration of Viktor Yanukovych, Andriy Portnov, finding no reason to prosecute the fifth President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, said lawyer Ilya Novikov.

"On October 3 of this year, the First Panama Specialized Organized Crime Prosecutor's Office decided to close the case opened upon the statement of Mr. Andriy Portnov against Poroshenko ... The statement stated that the companies allegedly associated with Poroshenko carried out the legalization of proceeds of crime," Novikov said a press conference at the Interfax-Ukraine agency on Wednesday.

According to him, Portnov's personal testimony was added to this statement, and he insisted that the Panama prosecutor's office should investigate these alleged crimes.

The lawyer explained that the Panama prosecutor's office was indeed conducting an investigation.

"The data provided by Portnov was verified, and two months were enough for the prosecutor to figure out the contents of this case and decide to close the case," Novikov added.

He also noted that this decision is based on the fact that Ukraine is investigating criminal proceedings opened upon Portnov's statement, and also states that Portnov's statement did not mention facts that would indicate companies were involved in any illegal actions.

At the same time, Novikov noted that this decision could be appealed to a Panama court, but he does not know if Portnov's lawyer in Panama intends to file a corresponding motion.

Novikov said that at the same time the Panama Prosecutor's Office opened the proceedings at the request of Poroshenko's lawyers in connection with the giving of obviously false testimony by Portnov.

"On October 13, the proceedings were registered at the request of Poroshenko's lawyers against Portnov for committing crimes under Article 384 of the Panama Penal Code – "providing knowingly false information about the commission of a criminal offense," he said.

In turn, lawyer Ihor Holovan noted that the defense of Poroshenko also takes all measures to hold those accountable for illegal actions against the fifth president. In particular, according to him, the court, on the statement of the lawyers, ruled to question Portnov and director of the State Bureau of Investigations Roman Truba in a criminal proceeding about the attack on Poroshenko near the building of the SBI in June 2019, and there is a case in the Prosecutor General's office about the disclosure of confidential data.

Also, according to him, not in all criminal proceedings investigated by the SBI, Poroshenko has witness status.

"There is a proceeding where he acts as a witness, and where he does not act at all," Holovan said.

In addition, the lawyer is convinced that there is no legal basis for notifying Poroshenko about the commission of any crime.

Commenting on Poroshenko's failures to come for interrogations, the lawyer stressed that there is a good reason for this, in addition, according to him, the SBI has no intention to investigate these cases as such.