Ukrainian Government Interpreter in US Talks Accused of Espionage for Russia
21 December, 2017

Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman’s interpreter has been arrested on suspicion of working for Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) arrested Stanislav Yezhov late on Wednesday, accusing the diplomat of treason.

"He worked like a real spy. And worked with quite the initiative. He passed on information, stole documents and passed them on to their Russian curators,” said Andrei Petrov, head of the counterintelligence department of the SBU.

According to the SBU, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman’s translator Stanislav Yezhov was "recruited" during a "long foreign trip" Photo credit: Stanislav Yezhov's social media.

Groysman wrote about Yezhov’s detention on his Facebook page, saying it was discovered that the diplomat has been working in the interest of the “enemy government” for a long time.

Yezhov was present during Groysman’s meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May in July as well as a meeting with former US Vice President Joe Biden in 2016.

However, Yezhov, also the deputy head of the Prime Minister’s protocol service, was not a public figure and little is known about him.

Who is Yezhov?

Yezhov worked in Ukrainian embassies in Slovenia and the United States before taking up a position in the Verkhovna Rada in 2015. He worked for the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament  a post then held by Groysman. After Groysman was appointed Prime Minister, Yezhov, in May 2016, started working for the Cabinet of Ministers.

Hromadske’s source in the government said that Yezhov was recommended for Groysman’s team by Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"After Volodymyr Groysman was appointed speaker, he needed an interpreter. He turned to the Foreign Ministry and they recommended Yezhov. By that time he had a reputation of being one of the best simultaneous interpreters,” the source told Hromadske.

According to the source, prior to his appointment in the government and parliament, Yezhov underwent background checks with the counterintelligence department, which approved his candidacy twice.

Prior to his appointment to the government and parliament, the counterintelligence department performed background checks on Stanislav Yezhov and twice approved his candidacy. Pictured in the photo - Stanislav Yezhov. Photo credit: Stanislav Yezhov's social media.

Officially, the SBU is not disclosing the details of the case against Yezhov. According to Petrov, Yezhov was "recruited" during a "long foreign trip".

Unofficially, SBU officials state that it happened during Yezhov's post at the Ukrainian Embassy in the United States. Ukrainian special services have been monitoring Yezhov since spring, they add.

Yezhov had not made a public statement on the matter at the time of publication. Furthermore, it is currently unknown who will represent him in court.

Assets and family

According to Yezhov’s official declaration, he owns a third of an apartment in Kyiv since 1997. In the past year, he has earned 223,829 hryvnya ($8,000), of which 44,617 hryvnya ($1,600) was for work in the Verkhovna Rada and nearly 180,000 hryvnya ($6,500) for work in the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Yezhov’s wife Yulia is a Russian citizen with investments in Russia’s Sberbank and a salary from US company NUMARK Associates. Her salary is 125,526 hryvnya ($4,500) per year with interest from investments in Sberbank amounting to 6104 hryvnya ($220).

Yulia has two accounts with Sberbank – one with 286,641 in rubles ($4,900), the other with over $30,000. Yezhov also has $70,000 and a further $11,000, which he "lent to third parties."

Access to state secrets

While working for the Ukrainian parliament, Yezhov could have access to classified information, which included directives, plans and instructions from persons engaged in foreign policy and foreign economic activity.

He also had access to military, scientific and technical information as well as data on weapon exports and imports, which if declassified could be harmful to national security.

/Translated by Natalie Vikhrov