ZIK snapshot

The Cassation Administrative Court of the Supreme Court of Ukraine has declared unlawful and reversed the presidential decree on the dismissal of first deputy chief of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Serhiy Semochko.

The decision shall come into force once a 30-day deadline for appeals expires, RBC-Ukraine reports referring to the Court's press service.

In late spring 2019, Semochko filed a suit demanding that President Petro Poroshenko's decree of April 12, 2019, on his dismissal be canceled.

Semochko argued that the decree was unlawful as at the time of his dismissal he was on sick leave.

Read alsoPoroshenko dismisses first deputy chief of Ukraine's foreign intelligence agencyNevertheless, on June 24, 2020, the court turned down his claim, noting that he had filed it beyond a 30-day deadline. Semochko did not agree with the ruling decision and appealed with the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court, which sided with him and obliged the Cassation Administrative Court to hear the case, despite the fact that the plaintiff had missed the deadline.

On January 13, 2021, the panel of judges of the Administrative Court of Cassation, headed by Iryna Vasilyeva, delivered its verdict in Semochko's favor, partially satisfying his claim in the part of declaring unlawful and canceling the presidential decree on his dismissal.

Background

Investigative journalists established facts that may prove Semochko's ties with Russia via his family members and the "aggressor state might have paid this official for information from him." Nashi Groshi journalists found evidence that Semochko owns real estate worth over UAH 200 million (US$7.4 million), while his family members, namely his common-law wife and her daughter, have Russian citizenship and run a business in Russian-occupied Crimea.

On October 3, 2018, the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) opened a criminal case under Part 3 of Article 368-2 (illegal enrichment) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

Journalists with the Nashi Hroshi project also claimed that Semochko had been involved in blocking the supplies of dialysis drugs, which, in their opinion, could be due to the SBU extorting kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies.

On December 11, 2018, the Security Service confirmed Russian citizenship of Semochko's relatives. In turn, Yehor Bozhok, then chairman of the SZR, said that he saw no reason to dismiss or suspend Semochko.

On April 12, 2019, the then-president Petro Poroshenko dismissed Serhiy Semochko from the post of First Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Service.

In November 2020, it became known that Serhiy Semochko won a court case against Bihus.info journalists. The court ordered that the journalists refute information about the top spy's hi-end real estate property, the Russian citizenship of his relatives, and his alleged involvement in the blocking of essential drug supplies.