Ukraine enquires into where ex-president Petro Poroshenko has jetted off to. He left the country with the family the other day, officially for holidays in Turkey. However, Poroshenko’s current whereabouts are unknown. Which naturally raises the question: is that a vacation or an escape? Fear is his simple motive.
Poroshenko is already seeking shelter from criminal prosecution that may cost him not only his political career, but freedom as well, from the United States. Former Ukrainian president has applied to experts of the famous and very influential company BGR Group for lobbying his interests, Vesti Ukraine newspaper has reported with reference to its sources. US Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker is a senior adviser of that organization.
It is not going to be a walk in the park for Poroshenko’s lawyers though.
As early as on June 25, head of the Ukrainian presidential office Andrei Bogdan spearheaded the creation of interagency task force. It deals with a search for compromising evidence on Poroshenko, targeting at collecting evidence of corruption and wrongdoing facts. Moreover, its aim is to examine former president’s involvement in the Donbass military operation launch, as well as concealment of losses in Debaltsevo and Ilovaisk.
Remarkably, Poroshenko’s leave came amid commencement of another criminal case against him. Ex-head of the Kiev Court of Appeals Anton Chernushenko accused former president and his associates of putting pressure on judges and interference in investigations. According to Chernushenko, who filed the claim, ex-head of the state and former deputy chief of his administration Oleksiy Filatov pushed for condemning innocent people on separate cases. That way, as of today 12 criminal cases have been initiated against Poroshenko in the State Bureau of Investigations.
However, Poroshenko’s leave hardly resembles an abrupt decision.
Despite the fact that the Ukrainian law bans dual citizenship, Poroshenko has passports of as many as five states, as reported by Ukrainian media with reference to sources in Moldova’s prosecution service. According to the report, he produced a couple of citizenships for himself under forged name back in 1996. Consequently, which former president’s name should be hunted for remains unclear.
Meanwhile, Mikhail Pogrebinsky, a well-informed political expert, Director of the Kiev Center for Political Studies and Conflictology, admits that after leaving the country former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko may not come back.
“For some reason, Poroshenko left the country with all his family members, and prior to that he cashed out kilograms of hundred-dollar notes. Does anyone know where that money is? First his family jetted off several days prior to that, and he was clearly going to follow,” Pogrebinsky said in an interview aired by NewsOne TV channel.
Another thing is that the possibility that he will secure his parliamentary and post-presidential immunity is also weak. It is not just about the fact that the new power suggests that he abandon parliamentary immunity. The analogues are too underwhelming.
What happens to presidents who come to power through ‘orange revolutions’ is predetermined, Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said when commenting the departure of Ukraine’s ex-president with his family from the country. He noted that Mikhail Saakashvili left Georgia earlier, ending up inadmissible to his homeland.
“Yesterday, Poroshenko and his family left Ukraine. Both came to power with support from outside and did irreparable damage to their own countries,” Volodin said.
It is worth pointing out that the rumor on Poroshenko’s possible escape abroad has been circulating for quite a while. In March 2017, Ukrainian ex-lawmaker Vladimir Oleynik said that Poroshenko had started sending away his possessions.
“I was briefed by customs officials and the Security Service of Ukraine that in January Poroshenko sent two jets with cash and art treasures to Spain,” Oleynik said, adding that the status of cargo was documented as diplomatic.
Interestingly, the most recent public appearance of Poroshenko occurred near the building of the State Bureau of Investigations in Kiev. The next questioning of ex-president is scheduled for August 12. Is he going to return by that time?