Runaway Ukrainian deputy Oleksandr Onyshchenko announced on Dec. 1 that he has handed FBI agents damaging recordings of Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko.
Onyshchenko told Ukrainska Pravda that he secretly recorded his personal conversations with Poroshenko for more than a year using his watch.
Onyshchenko was accused of stealing from state-owned gas extraction company Ukrgazvydobuvannya in June. He fled the country before the parliament managed to vote to lift his immunity from prosecution.
“You will hear the voice of the (constitution’s) guarantor, all your illusions about (his) love for the state, Ukraine or the Ukrainian people will disappear,” Onyshchenko told Ukrainska Pravda from his self-imposed exile in London.
He is currently trying to seek asylum from the UK authorities.
Head of investigations at the State Security Service (SBU) Hryhoriy Ostafiychuk said that Onyshchenko’s actions constituted treason and they have opened a pre-trial investigation. Interpol will decide on including Onyshchenko to its wanted list at Ukraine’s request in the coming weeks.
In an interview with Strana.ua Onyshchenko also said that he had reams of correspondence with Poroshenko and his associates relating to how the president bribed parliamentary deputies. Onyshchenko said that he, along with Poroshenko’s close allies Ihor Kononenko, Makar Pasenyuk and Serhiy Berezenko, were used as intermediaries to buy deputies’ votes. Onyshchenko called himself an “organizer of votes.”
Berezenko called the accusations “lies” and Kononenko did not reply to request for comment to Strana.ua.
Onyshchenko provided Strana.ua with documents which allegedly show a payment of almost 12 million euro he received from an offshore firm that he alleges is owned by Pasenyuk: Meliam Properties Limited. Pasenyuk told Strana.ua that he knew nothing about the transaction and was not involved in politics.
“I have a recording where Poroshenko gives orders on who should vote for what. I recorded it on my wrist watch. This is why they are taking watches from Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and anyone who visits the Presidential Administration,” Onyshchenko told Strana.ua.
“I will shatter the myth about the gas deal,” Onyshchenko told Ukrainska Pravda, referring to the accusations against him.
On July 5, Ukraine’s parliament voted to strip Onyshchenko of his parliamentary immunity and detain him at the request of Ukraine’s General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko. However, the vote came three weeks after he had fled Ukraine.
Lutsenko told parliament that Onyshchenko had led a “criminal group” which drained the state-owned gas extraction company Ukrgazvydobuvannya of money. Ukraine’s authorities claim Onyshchenko embezzled Hr 1.6 billion ($64 million) between January 2014 and January 2016. Onyshchenko’s companies allegedly got exclusive deals to sell gas on behalf of Ukrgazvydobuvannya, and sold the gas to fictitious firms at low prices who would then sell it on at market rates.
Onyshchenko denies the allegations levied by the General Prosecutor’s Office.
Ukraine’s Security Service said on Dec. 1 that Onyshchenko is organizing a massive attack on Ukraine with Kremlin approval. Onyshchenko dismissed the accusations on his Facebook page.
“This is just a reaction to my interview with Strana.ua about corruption and how Poroshenko would ask me to buy votes…I am working with the American Security Services,” he wrote on Facebook.
In July, Yaroslav Moskalenko, also a deputy, defended Onyshchenko to UNIAN over the gas scandal, saying that many high ranking Ukrainian officials at Ukrgazvydobuvannya and the State Fiscal Services had put their signatures on the respective documents over the two year period. Radical Party leader Oleh Lyashko told parliament that without Poroshenko’s approval, Onyshchenko would not have been able to operate.
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