Press Conferences

Appointment of Yanukovych's ex-lawyer as SBI first deputy director could invalidate 'Maidan cases' in courts – MP

KYIV. Jan 23 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The appointment of the former lawyer of the ex-president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, Oleksandr Babikov, as the first deputy director of the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) demonstrates a direct conflict of interest and can offset the upcoming court hearings on "Maidan cases," Member of Parliament (European Solidarity faction) Viktoria Siumar has said.

"There are serious fears, including of families of those killed on Maidan, that this (appointment of Babikov) eliminates the upcoming trial over killers of the Heavenly Hundred, because the court may simply not accept the entire investigation, given that it was carried out with a conflict of interest. Thus, we will forever make Viktor Yanukovych unchallenged in these key and the most sensitive cases in Ukrainian history," Siumar said at a press conference hosted by Interfax-Ukraine on Thursday.

She emphasized that the statement of the SBI acting director Iryna Venediktova that Babikov would not be involved in probe into "Maidan cases" is illogical, since the State Bureau of Investigations is an approved structure, according to which its first deputy director charged with the first, second and third departments, and the third investigates the Maidan cases submitted by the Prosecutor General's Office.

"We will be interested in the SBI, exactly how they are going to ban the access to these matters to the first deputy," the MP added.

Siumar emphasized: "Such stories are a direct conflict of interest. This is one of the basic corruption violations."

In turn, the lawyer of the fifth president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, Ihor Golovan, drew attention to the fact that such appointments are inherently unacceptable. "The lawyer stands on a certain legal position, he defends it ... he actually was sitting in one trench, and now he moves to another trench, to the enemy. This is a clear conflict of interest," Golovan said.

In this context, the lawyer continued: "The defense turns to the prosecution...All over the world this is unacceptable and impossible," said Golovan.