Saturday

17th Aug 2019

Ukraine prosecutor: Bring me evidence of Yanukovych corruption

Ukraine's celebrity general prosecutor has offered to investigate President Viktor Yanukovych for alleged corruption in a bid to improve his country's image in the EU.

The jurist, Rinat Kuzmin, famous for putting former president Leonid Kuchma on trial for murder and, more recently, for jailing former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko for abuse of office, made the offer on Yanukovych at a press briefing in Brussels on Tuesday (22 November).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Yanukovych (c) - is the pot calling the kettle black? (Photo: kremlin.ru)

Kuzmin was in the EU capital on a mission to demonstrate the "openness" of Ukraine's legal establishment after EU leaders accused Yanukovych of using selective justice to eliminate political rivals.

He noted as one clear sign that Tymoshenko is guilty of corruption that in the past she declared an income of less than $2,000 a year while buying "cars, furs, jewellery, restaurants."

When asked if it is equally suspicious that Yanukovych has a declared income of $115,000 a year but appears to be building himself a multi-million-dollar lakeside mansion north of Kiev, Kuzmin said his office would investigate the president if it receives a request on paper.

"To you as a journalist who is interested in this topic, I would recommend to present an official information request, with accompanying documents, and to transmit it to the prosecutor's office. We will examine your request and provide written answers," he said.

Asked if he is also concerned by evidence the Yanukovych government paid $150 million more than the market value for a gas-drilling platform this year, he again promised to make enquiries: "I would like to repeat, if the investigative department receives your information about [the rig] we are ready to examine it ... Don't be shy. Send a request."

The Yanukovych mansion case was exposed in recent weeks by investigative reports in the Kyiv Post, Korrespondent and Ukrainska Pravda publications. The gas rig case was covered by the Dzerkalo Tyzhnya journal.

For their part, Ukrainian journalists think Kuzmin's offer on Yanukovych is hollow talk designed to impress a Brussels audience.

Contacts said Kuzmin himself lives in a lavish house in the exclusive Pushcha Voditsa recreation complex. But officials have denied freedom of information requests about the property.

He also has a conflict of interest on the Tymoshenko case because he sits on Ukraine's Supreme Council of Justice, which has the power to sack the Tymoshenko judge.

The EU in October cancelled a meeting with Yanukovych in protest over Tymoshenko and has threatened to cancel a summit in December in Kiev as well.

EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton has done little to persuade Ukrainian diplomats the hard line is really based on values, however.

The prevailing theory in Kiev is that France, Germany and the Netherlands - the main enemies of Ukraine enlargement - are using human rights as a pretext to block integration.

Ashton last week met with the foreign ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, but said little about human rights abuses by the regimes. Her deputies in Brussels also met with the foreign minister of Uzbekistan - rated as one of the most repressive countries in the world alongside North Korea and Zimbabwe.

For his part, Ukraine's EU ambassador, Kostyantyn Yeliseyev, has accused Brussels of double standards.

"Of course, if you ask EU officials, they say the climate is not conducive [for negotiations]. If you use the same criterion of conducive climate, under this pretext, you could cancel about 80 percent of EU talks," he told EUobserver in a previous interview.

Brinksmanship on all sides ahead of EU-Ukraine summit

The EU is continuing to call for legal reform in Ukraine, while Ukraine is still demanding an EU accession promise ahead of a summit that is unlikely to see the initialing of a landmark association treaty.

Ukraine ignores EU outcry, opens second case against Tymoshenko

Ukraine has filed a second case against former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko that could see her jailed for 12 years and fined $405 million, despite an EU outcry against her earlier sentence this week for seven years and $188 million.

Opinion

Ukraine-EU: the final count-down

The EU will gain nothing from disengaging with Kiev other than helping to contribute to an increasingly unpredictable and unstable Ukraine.

Opinion

EU-Ukraine relations: tainted love

The EU should get as deeply involved as possible in Ukraine's future for the sake of its people instead of helping Yanukovych to wreck the integration process.

News in Brief

  1. Trump turned down: Greenland not for sale
  2. UK Libdems would back Clarke or Harman as new PM
  3. Six countries agree to take 'Open Arms' ship migrants
  4. Gibraltar judge: Iranian ship should be released
  5. Increasing fears of a global recession
  6. Far-right hate crimes on the rise in Germany
  7. EU steel tariffs have 'worked well' so far
  8. Italian court: Migrant rescue ship can enter Italian waters

Opinion

Time to pay attention to Belarus

Belarus may be hosting the European Games, but Vladimir Putin is not playing games when it comes to Belarus' independence. The West needs to get serious as well.

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings
  2. EU asked to solve migrant rescue deadlock
  3. Internal EU paper: Second Brexit vote was no longer 'distant dream'
  4. EU has 'zero incentive' to break open 'trilogue' deals
  5. Denmark plans import ban on EU-approved pesticide
  6. US offers Johnson helping hand on Brexit
  7. Italy: New government without Salvini in the making
  8. Brexit row delays financial products transparency review

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us