Accusations against Kononenko have been building since last year, when lawmakers and investigative journalists tracked his alleged links to state companies. Critics say he has built a vast business empire thanks to his political influence.
Kononenko and Poroshenko are co-owners of the International Investment Bank and have been acquainted for 30 years.
Kononenko, a deputy head of the president’s faction in parliament and a member of the Verkhovna Rada’s energy committee, acts as a liaison among Poroshenko, parliament, the Cabinet of Ministers and the prosecutor general, according to the Novoye Vremya magazine.
Abromavicius said on Feb. 3 that Kononenko had “interests” at ammonia shipping company Ukrkhimtransamiak and had been trying to install his protégé as the chief executive of the firm.
Kononenko has also been trying to have his people appointed to Derzhzovnishinform, a market research company, powder metallurgy companies and the National Accreditation Agency, Abromavicius said.
Abromavicius also said that Kononenko had been trying to impose his protégé as a deputy economy minister.
Serhiy Leshchenko, a lawmaker from the president’s bloc, wrote on the same day that the protégé that the minister was referring to is Andriy Pasishnik, a deputy chief executive of state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz. According to Leshchenko, he was expected to supervise Naftogaz Ukraine and natural gas producer Ukrhazvydobuvannya.
Kononenko is trying to establish his control over Ukrhazvydobuvannya, Victoria Voytsytska, a lawmaker from the Samopomich Party, told the Kyiv Post. Specifically, he has lobbied for a bill that would enable the preservation of corruption schemes at the company, she added.
According to the Insider news site, Ukrhazvydobuvannya, oil pipeline operator Ukrtransnafta, hydropower company Ukrhidroenergo and power transmission firm Ukrenergo are overseen by people close to Poroshenko.
Meanwhile, last month Leshchenko claimed that Kononenko’s placemen had been appointed to state-owned railway monopoly Ukrzaliznytsa.
Another company that is allegedly linked to Kononenko is electric power producer Tsentrenergo.
Voytsytska has accused Kononenko of influencing Tsentrenergo through his placeholders in the company’s management and siphoning money out of the firm.
Natural gas is supplied to Tsentrenergo at inflated prices, she has argued.
Last October British journalist Graham Stack and ex-State Security Service Chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko also accused Kononenko of money laundering.
The alleged laundering scheme involved moving money from Ukrprominvest, a group founded by Kononenko and Poroshenko, to the British Virgin Islands through offshore companies Intraco Management Ltd and Ernion.
According to payment orders published by Stack, Kononenko’s daughter Darya received money from Intraco Management Ltd.
Abromavicius’ resignation statement can be read here.
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