The State Investigation Bureau on Dec. 20 searched the headquarters of the European Solidarity party, led by former President Petro Poroshenko.
The party’s official response said the search was conducted to inflict political pressure, as a reprisal for the party’s political position.
On the same day, Ukraine’s Security Service together with the Investigation Bureau searched the Fifth Element gym in Kyiv, as part of a separate investigation. The gym is owned by Poroshenko and Ihor Kononenko, the deputy head of Poroshenko’s party in the previous parliament and his longtime business partner.
After the search, the State Investigation Bureau stated that cameras and recording devices were found inside the gym’s smoke detectors and security alarms.
The Investigation Bureau alleged that the gym, which is visited by politicians and businessmen, was recording and filming its clients.
Poroshenko and Kononenko couldn’t be reached for comment.
State Investigation Bureau press secretary Anzhelika Ivanova told the Ukrainska Pravda news outlet that the searches are part of two ongoing investigations. One concerns the alleged theft of servers with classified information from the president’s office. The other concerns alleged tax evasion and money laundering during the 2018 sale of the Kuznya on Rybalsky shipyard, formerly owned by Poroshenko and Kononenko.
“Searches are ongoing at several locations, including several households,” said Ivanova.
In May, a week after Poroshenko left office, Oleksandr Danylyuk, the newly appointed head of the National Security and Defense Council, accused the former president of stealing TV screens and servers containing classified information.
“What happened to the servers where the classified information was stored?” said Danylyuk.
Poroshenko’s press secretary responded that the screens were being rented by Poroshenko and had been returned to their owners, while the servers didn’t contain any classified information.
Read More: After leaving office, Poroshenko faces criminal investigations.
On May 29, the Investigation Bureau opened a probe into the alleged theft of state property.
Additionally, the Investigation Bureau opened a separate probe into the selling of Kuznya on Rybalsky.
In 2018, Poroshenko and Kononenko sold the shipyard for approximately $300 million to tycoon Serhiy Tigipko, an ex-politician and owner of the TAS banking group.
Andriy Portnov, a lawyer and former deputy chief of staff under former President Viktor Yanukovych, who left the country in 2014 after his boss was ousted by the EuroMaidan Revolution, accused Poroshenko and Tigipko of money laundering.
Portnov claimed that Tigipko paid only a fraction of the shipyard’s reported sum and the rest was money that Poroshenko received from other sources and laundered under the cover of the deal.
The Investigation Bureau opened a case in June. Poroshenko denied all accusations. Tigipko was questioned in relation to the case on July 9.
However, the Investigation Bureau itself has a dubious reputation.
On Dec. 3, Ukraine’s parliament voted in favor of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s proposal to relaunch the State Investigation Bureau, which investigates crimes by high-level officials, after leaked audio recordings implicated the bureau’s leadership in corruption.
Roman Truba, then head of the State Investigation Bureau, was fired.
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