Three Ukrainian lawmakers appear to have joined the cast of Ukrainian officials aiding U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign to dig up dirt against his political opponent using Ukraine.

While the U.S. Congress probes Trump’s alleged attempt to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, this trio wants the parliament of Ukraine to investigate Ukrainians’ alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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The three lawmakers — Oleg Voloshyn, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko and Andriy Derkach — represent different political parties and claim they’re acting out of their own desire to establish the truth and help Ukraine.

However, their backgrounds raise suspicions that they are acting on behalf of bigger players in scandal: an exiled Ukrainian oligarch and a former top prosecutor who supplied questionable information to people close to Trump.

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Voloshyn and Nalyvaichenko have links to the oligarch Dmytro Firtash, who has been stuck in Vienna, fighting a U.S. extradition order on bribery charges since 2014. Firtash gave information to Rudolph Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer and a key player in his efforts to dig up dirt on his political enemies in Ukraine, Time magazine reported.

Meanwhile, Derkach, is close to former Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, who also supplied Giuliani with information about Biden. Lutsenko, whom Ukrainian law enforcement is now investigating for abuse of power, has recently moved to London, supposedly to study English.

Yuriy Lutsenko (R), then leader of Petro Poroshenko Bloc political party, talks to independent lawmaker Andriy Derkach (C) and Serhiy Berezenko, another lawmaker from Poroshenko’s party, in parliament on March 16, 2016. Lutsenko and Derkack know each other at least from 2005, when they both were members of Socialist Party of Ukraine. (UNIAN)

Voloshyn, Nalyvaichenko, and Derkach claim they want to clean up Ukraine’s reputation and help Zelensky get out of the scandal in which he was unintentionally involved.

In fact, their efforts would likely help to whitewash Trump’s former campaign chief, Paul Manafort, who was investigated by the FBI amid a broader probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election in favor of Trump. Manafort is now serving a 7.5-year prison term for tax and bank fraud committed during his work in Ukraine.

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It would also help Trump and his allies to say it was Ukraine, not Russia, that tried to meddle in the U.S. 2016 election campaign and that Kyiv did it in favor of the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Russia would be pleased with this as well.

Voloshyn, who calls Manafort his friend, says his investigation would be helpful for Manafort to “clear his good name.” But he admits it would not help to cut his prison term because Manafort is jailed for economic crimes.

Investigation details

Voloshyn is now a lawmaker with the Opposition Platform-For Life, a 44-member party faction where Firtash’s business partner Sergiy Lovochkin and Viktor Medvedchuk, a close friend of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, have leading roles.

In December 2017, Voloshyn published a flattering opinion piece about Manafort promoting Ukraine’s integration into Europe in the Kyiv Post. The FBI later found that Manafort violated his house arrest when he edited Voloshyn’s article, special U.S. prosecutor Robert Mueller reported.

Voloshyn got to know Manafort when the U.S. lobbyist consulted for ousted President Viktor Yanukovych and his Party of Regions. Voloshyn wants to investigate the authenticity of the so-called “black ledger” of off-the-books cash payments from Yanukovych’s party. He claims the page where Manafort was listed as receiving $12.7 million was forged by Ukrainian officials who wanted to cause the lobbyist trouble.

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“Everybody who knows how lobbyists work understands that it is nonsense,” Voloshyn said.

Voloshyn also wants to investigate a former deputy head of the SBU state security service, Viktor Trepak, who found the ledger and delivered it to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), and former lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko, who made the ledger’s details public in August 2016. The scandal that broke after that revelation prompted Trump to sack Manafort from leading his election campaign.

Voloshyn also wants Artem Sytnyk, the NABU chief, to be investigated. Trepak, Leshchenko, and Sytnyk have denied any wrongdoing.

Additionally, Voloshyn wants to investigate alleged cooperation between Ukraine’s embassy in Washington and Ukrainian-American Alexandra Chalupa, a Democratic Party operative, in spring 2016.

Valeriy Chaly, then Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., admitted in a written statement delivered to the Hill news website that Chalupa had approached the embassy and tried to push the investigation of Manafort’s dealings in Ukraine. But Chaly claimed the embassy didn’t cooperate with her.

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Andriy Telizhenko, who worked in the embassy as third secretary for seven months, claimed in several interviews that Chaly had asked him to dig up information on Manafort. He later told this to Giuliani. There is no other evidence that Chaly made this request. The former Ukrainian ambassador told the Kyiv Post that Telizhenko was lying.

Voloshyn accuses Chaly along with former President Petro Poroshenko of acting in favor of Clinton’s campaign and wants to investigate them. Chaly and Poroshenko denied any wrongdoing.

Voloshyn says Nalyvaichenko and Derkach have joined him and more lawmakers could join them later. “Mr. Derkach and I and others believe there was interference in the American elections,” he said. Though he admits they don’t have the 150 votes in parliament needed to launch the investigative commission so far, Voloshyn said he is going to pursue this effort.

In an interview with the Livy Bereh website published on Oct. 14, Chaly warned that the narrative of Ukraine’s alleged involvement in the American elections pushed by some politicians would be “suicidal” for the country’s cooperation with the U.S.

Links to Firtash, Russia

On Oct. 11, Nalyvaichenko, Ukraine’s former SBU chief and now a lawmaker from Batkivshchyna, the 24-member faction of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, published an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. There he claimed that Ukraine is obligated to find out whether there was meddling in the U.S. elections in 2016.

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He also called for an investigation into whether Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, was complicit in the Burisma energy company’s alleged corruption schemes. The younger Biden was a board member at Burisma, which belongs to Yanukovych-era ecology minister Mykola Zlochevsky, and reportedly received $50,000 a month in that role.

“That is why I am proposing that all parties in the new Ukrainian Parliament, which took office a month ago, join in an investigation to discover exactly what took place with Burisma and the 2016 U.S. elections,” Nalyvaichenko wrote.

While Nalyvaichenko refused to talk to the Kyiv Post, Voloshyn said that Nalyvaichenko should head the investigative commission in parliament as the most knowledgeable person there.

Nalyvaichenko served as head of the SBU under President Viktor Yushchenko in 2006-2010 and also in 2014-2015, the first two years after the EuroMaidan Revolution that ousted Yanukovych.

But an investigation by Radio Svoboda published in October 2015 also found that Nalyvaichenko has links with Firtash. In 2009, he made Firtash’s business partner, Valery Khoroshkovsky, his deputy at the SBU. Nalyvaichenko’s advisor in 2014-2015, Markiyan Lubkivsky, used to have a managing position in Ukrrestavratsiya, a company controlled by Lovochkin, who is a business partner of Firtash, the investigation found.

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Leshchenko, a reformist ex-lawmaker and former investigative journalist, reported that when the SBU banned U.S. businessmen Vadym and Illia Sigal from entering Ukraine in July 2014, it was retribution from Firtash. The oligarch had a conflict with the Sigal brothers over the ownership of a plant in Kakhovka city in southern Ukraine.

Nalyvaichenko denied any links to Firtash. His press representative referred to the reported ties as “rumors.”

In February 2017, Nalyvaichenko was among those Ukrainian politicians who tried to build relations with Trump and his circle while avoiding official diplomatic channels. He admitted traveling to Washington D.C. in December and January for meetings with a Trump advisor and a Republican senator.

Another lawmaker, Andrey Artemenko, who delivered a pro-Russian “peace plan” to the White House and later lost his parliamentary mandate and citizenship as a result, claimed that Nalyvaichenko had supplied him with the compromising materials on Poroshenko.

Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, former head of the Security Service of Ukraine, talks to journalists during the Kyiv Global Summit, organized for discussion of how to end Russia’s war in eastern Ukraine, on Oct. 5, 2018. Nalyvaichenko, who is now lawmaker from the Batkivshchyna party of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, is one of three MPs who want parliament to investigate Ukrainians’ alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (UNIAN)

In a March 2017 interview with ZIK TV channel, Artemenko admitted that he has known Firtash for many years and allowed the oligarch to use an aircraft owned by his company. In November 2017, the McClatchyDC news website published a story revealing that the Belbek Avia, an air company co-founded by Atremenko’s father provided a private plane for Manafort and political consultant Konstantin Kilimnik on a trip from eastern Ukraine to Frankfurt in July 2013.

‘NABU leaks’

On Oct. 9, independent lawmaker Derkach revealed email exchanges between NABU official Polina Chizh and an employee of the U.S. embassy, Hanna Yemelyanova, dating back to November 2017. He claimed the U.S. embassy was putting pressure on NABU investigations.

The emails appear to show the embassy and NABU discussing several cases, including an investigation into ex-Ecology Minister Zlochevsky.

NABU was created in 2015 as a law enforcement body charged with investigating high-level corruption. The U.S. has continuously supported NABU with equipment and education for its detectives. These emails could have been part of that process.

Both NABU and the U.S. Embassy declined to comment.

Derkach also claimed that, according to his information, Hunter Biden received $900,000 in the offshore accounts of his consultancy, Rosemont Seneca Partners, for lobbying by his father. Derkach provided no evidence to support these accusations. Giuliani has made similar claims and said he got the information from Lutsenko.

Derkach claimed he got his data from investigative journalists who were afraid to publish it. But a Kyiv Post source said that, in reality, Chizh’s inbox was hacked at the order of Lutsenko, then prosecutor general, who tried to oust NABU chief Sytnyk in 2017.

It could be Lutsenko who supplied Derkach with the hacked emails. Neither man responded to the Kyiv Post’s request for comment.

Lutsenko and Derkach have known each other for many years. They had both been members of the Socialist Party of Ukraine. A picture from a 2005 issue of the Ukraina

Moloda newspaper shows them sitting and talking at the party’s congress like close friends. While serving as interior minister, Lutsenko once presented Oksana Terekhova, Derkach’s wife, with an honorary pistol, several Ukrainian media reported.

Derkach, who was elected to the current parliament from a single-member district, was a lawmaker with Yanukovych’s party for two terms and voted for the so-called dictatorship laws in January 2014, which targeted the EuroMaidan protests. His father, Leonid Derkach, headed SBU in 1998-2001.

Derkach himself is no stranger to the secret services. In 1990-1993, he studied at the Academy of the Russian Ministry of Security, which was later renamed to the FSB Academy. His graduation thesis was called “Organizing and Holding Meetings with Secret Agents.”

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