Oleksandr Babikov, a former lawyer for disgraced Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, who fled the country for Russia amid the Euromaidan protests, faces fierce opposition by activists following his appointment as a deputy director of Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigations. Ukraine’s SBI is in charge of investigating the murders of protesters during the Euromaidan, but many of these cases have not been successfully prosecuted.
His appointment has sparked protests in Kyiv, with one activist describing the SBI head as a “lawyer for the devil.”
Babikov has defended himself from accusations of conflicts of interest by saying that he has not represented Yanukovych from 2014 to 2020. But a document, provided by a prosecutor from Ukraine's Prosecutor-General's Office alleged that Babikov had indeed represented the ex-president, saying that he had personally sat on meeting with Babikov on the Yanukovych case.
“I have not represented the interests of Yanukovych, especially in the Maidan cases. Have any of you heard my name as a lawyer providing him with legal counsel from 2014 to 2020? People have shown you documents on which are written these allegations of representation. Several lawyers work in law firms. As a rule, in each case there is a lawyer who directly protects the client, this person develops the defense strategy for the person who has signed a contract with the firm. Seeing as lawyers often take part in court proceedings, legislation requires the submission of procedural documents in short timeframes. Sometimes, this creates a necessity where the lawyer on hand at the firm signs the technical documents,” explained Babikov.
“I can show you dozens of orders from assorted clients with whom I even under duress could not tell you what relation they have to our firm,” he added.
The head of the SBI, Irina Venediktova has previously stated that the Euromaidan investigators report directly to her, and that Babikov would not be involved in the investigations.