Yanukovych's ally Portnov returns to Ukraine after 5-year absence, threatens to sue Poroshenko
Former deputy head of the Viktor Yanukovych Presidential Administration Andriy Portnov, who returned to Ukraine on May 19, 2019, says he is going to sue outgoing President Petro Poroshenko and his allies.
"The first that should be addressed is what Ukrainian society is most concerned about: embezzlement in the army, theft, making profit on those days when Ukrainian soldiers were dying at the front. We will show the picture in detail: how, for example, capitalization in Panama was on the rise on the days amid Ukrainian soldiers' deaths. We will deal with the most important and key issues. This includes [Kyiv-based shipyard] Leninska Kuznya, where Poroshenko himself bought military produce from himself, using budget money whose allocation from the national budget he approved through the [parliamentary] faction he controls – he himself allocated this money through the government and the Finance Ministry under his control and he himself spent it when buying [the produce] at inflated prices from Leninska Kuznya enterprise he controls," Portnov told the Strana publication in an exclusive interview upon return to Ukraine. "We'll have to check the deal that was struck by [Sergiy] Tigipko and Poroshenko allegedly for $300 million – this is an explicit act of money laundering. It was handled through offshore companies, and we already understand the whole chain."
"Therefore, if, based on our information, law enforcement agencies go to court, they can already seek the seizure of all assets of Poroshenko only on the basis of the first claim on Leninska Kuznya, then we will help in other jurisdictions – in Panama, the UK, the British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, where Poroshenko's Spanish property registered," Portnov said.
Portnov's team has already conducted preparations and held consultations in Panama and the UK.
Portnov expects that Ukrainian courts will satisfy prosecutors' claims seeking Poroshenko's detention. He also considers it necessary to ensure the seizure of property owned by the outgoing president and his assets, including in offshore jurisdictions.
Portnov mentioned the following Poroshenko's allies to be held criminally liable: head of the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko faction in parliament Artur Gerasimov; head of the People's Front parliamentary faction Maksym Burbak; former deputy head of the Presidential Administration Oleksiy Filatov; MP Serhiy Pashynsky; as well as Poroshenko-affiliated officials who have own business.
Commenting on his relationship with the team of the new president, Portnov says he does not see himself in the system of government agencies under President Volodymyr Zelensky. Portnov also believes that the leaders of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Hrytsak and chief prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko should be dismissed. According to Portnov, the new president has all the legal grounds for disbanding the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament.
Andriy Portnov, who was facing charges of involvement in killings in Maidan activists in 2014 and treason and was once put on the EU sanction list and then withdrawn from it, returned to Ukraine on May 19, 2019, after he left the country several years ago. He first lived in Vienna, Austria. Then he was reportedly residing in Israel.
"Friends, I have been absent in my country for more than five years. And today I want to give a confident signal to the thousands of people who left Ukraine – it's time to return, build and rebuild. Hello, my dear Motherland!" Portnov wrote on his Telegram channel.
As was reported, MP from the People's Front parliamentary faction Andriy Levus (in 2014 he was deputy chairman of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine) announced in March 2018 that the SBU had begun proceedings against Portnov on charges of treason after the announcement by NGO Vilni Lyudy (Free People) about "his probable involvement in the annexation of Crimea." The MP said Portnov's probable involvement in the Russian occupation of part of the territory of Ukraine "is confirmed by a recording of a telephone conversation between Adviser to the President of Russia [Sergey] Glazyev and Chairman of Crimea's Supreme Council [Vladimir] Konstantinov, which was recorded by Ukraine's intelligence service on March 1, 2014." "During the conversation, Glazyev said the Crimean Supreme Council needed to adopt a resolution prepared by Portnov, a Ukrainian lawyer, former deputy head of the Presidential Administration," the MP said. Portnov, in turn, said that he had filed a claim with Kyiv's Shevchenkivsky district court against the SBU over the dissemination of false information.
Ukraine's prosecutors put Portnov on the wanted list on charges of involvement in mass killings of activists on Kyiv's Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) in 2014. Portnov later won the case against the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine (PGO), defending his honor, dignity and business reputation: the court recognized the PGO's actions against Portnov as "illegal, all information about alleged involvement of him in the tragic events on the Maidan in February 2014 is false and inappropriate."
In November 2014, the PGO lost its seventh claim against Portnov in court: Kyiv's Pechersky district court satisfied another claim filed by Portnov against the PGO and ruled the correspondence between the PGO and the EU regarding Portnov to be unlawful.
Portnov reportedly participated in drafting the so-called "dictatorship laws" of January 16, 2014.
When executive director of the Ukrainian Institute of the Future Viktor Andrusiv reminded Prosecutor General Lutsenko after reports about Portnov's return to Ukraine that the latter had not even been questioned about his involvement in the "laws of January 16," Lutsenko calmly responded, hinting that there is no evidence of his criminal activity.
"Do you have evidence of the crime committed by him?" Lutsenko replied on Facebook to Andrusiv's question.
"Yuriy Lutsenko, I think that it is you and the court who establish what is evidence and what is not. Therefore, it would be normal if Portnov is interrogated even on the basis of available information regarding his involvement in the laws of January 16, which led to escalation and first deaths [during the Maidan events]," Andrusiv answered.