Prosecutor General Ruslan Riaboshapka on Nov. 25 fired Kostyantyn Kulyk, a controversial top prosecutor accused of corruption and fabricating political cases.

Kulyk was one of the main perpetrators of the theory that former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden were implicated in political corruption in Ukraine.

He was dismissed due to a restructuring of the Prosecutor General’s Office being carried out by Riaboshapka, according to a source at the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Kulyk did not show up for mandatory vetting at the Prosecutor General’s Office in October. According to the prosecution law, prosecutors who refuse to be vetted can be fired.

He argued that the vetting procedure is unconstitutional and unlawful – a claim denied by the Prosecutor General’s Office. Kulyk also told the Kyiv Post he had been on sick leave and could not attend vetting events.


Kulyk’s investigations

Kulyk attributed his dismissal to his investigations into ex-President Viktor Yanukovych’s Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky’s Burisma Holdings, an oil and gas firm that employed Hunter Biden in 2014-2019, and alleged money laundering by Zlochevsky and other allies of Yanukovych through U.S. investment firm Franklin Templeton.

Kulyk told the Kyiv Post in May that the Prosecutor General’s Office had been investigating former Joe Biden’s alleged links to Burisma, where his son Hunter used to serve on the board of directors, which has led to accusations by U.S. President Donald Trump’s supporters that Joe Biden helped Burisma. Both Biden and his son have denied accusations of wrongdoing.

Kulyk has played a key role in former Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko’s efforts to curry favor with Trump by investigating Biden, Trump’s potential Democratic rival in the 2020 presidential election.

Illicit enrichment

Kulyk became a controversial figure in 2016 after the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) charged him with illicit enrichment of Hr 2 million ($80,000). The case was closed in March 2019 after the Constitutional Court ruled the illicit enrichment law unconstitutional.


Kulyk denies the accusations and believes the case to be a political vendetta by the NABU.

Kulyk has also illegally built an entire additional floor above his apartment in a high-end residential building in Kyiv, according to a Nov. 4 investigation by the Nashi Hroshi show. He declined to comment on the investigation.

Political cases?

Before early 2019, Kulyk was seen as a staunch loyalist of former President Petro Poroshenko. In 2017 to 2018, he pursued a criminal case against ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, a major political enemy of Poroshenko.

In December 2017, Kulik’s department charged Saakashvili with complicity in Yanukovych ally Serhiy Kurchenko’s criminal group for allegedly receiving money from Kurchenko to finance protests against Poroshenko. Saakashvili has said he believes the case to be the result of Poroshenko’s political vendetta against him.

Kulyk told the Kyiv Post he had regularly reported on the Saakashvili case to Poroshenko at the Presidential Administration. Moreover, Poroshenko praised him and other prosecutors for going after Saakashvili, he added.


He said that Poroshenko had told them to investigate and arrest certain allies of Saakashvili. However, he said that he and his colleagues did not obey Poroshenko’s orders.

The prosecutors’ alleged evidence against Saakashvili was dismissed by independent lawyers as weak and he was released from custody by Pechersk Court Judge Larysa Tsokol. Tsokol ruled that Saakashvili’s detention by the Security Service of Ukraine without a court warrant and any other legal grounds was unlawful.


As Poroshenko’s prospects for re-election grew increasingly dim in the run-up to the March 31 presidential election, Kulyk made a U-turn and charged several of Poroshenko’s allies with money laundering and embezzlement, triggering a political scandal.

These include Valeria Gontareva, the former head of the National Bank of Ukraine; Kostyantyn Stetsenko, a top executive at investment bank ICU; Borys Lozhkin; Poroshenko’s former chief of staff, and his former Deputy Chief of Staff Oleksiy Filatov.

Yuriy Butusov, chief editor of the news site, claimed on Facebook that Kulik, previously a Poroshenko loyalist, had gone to Israel, where tycoon Igor Kolomoisky lived, and concluded an alliance with him against Poroshenko before he brought the charges. Kolomoisky and Kulyk denied meeting each other.

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter