“US’ leverage to push for reforms has now been undermined” – Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Activist
1 October, 2019

Some American politicians, including President Donald Trump, argue that former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden abused official position to get advantage for his son Hunter Biden who worked in the advisory board of a Ukrainian gas company Burisma. The recently published memorandum of the conversation between the presidents of Ukraine and the U.S. even revealed that Trump mentioned the former Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in the talk, arguing that he was shut down in a “really unfair” way.

Daria Kaleniuk, an executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Center who has been following the Burisma case since 2014, explained to Hromadske why these allegations have no grounds at all.

Kaleniuk says that the foreign audience has to learn a couple of facts on this topic. Firstly, she says, is that Shokin – who, according to Trump, was a “good prosecutor” – was actually a corrupt prosecutor on whom many anti-corruption activists called to resign months before Biden came to Kyiv and asked the Ukrainian government to dismiss him.

Secondly, Shokin was not willing to investigate Burisma, the company where the junior Biden was in the advisory board. 

READ MORE: Biden, Shokin, and Zlochevsky: How the Burisma Case Unfolded

“We have all the documented evidence proving that,” says Kaleniuk who has been following the Burisma case since 2014.

Kaleniuk says that she remembers when it was announced in April 2014 that the United Kingdom had seized $23.5 million dollars from a company closely associated with Ukraine’s ex-President Viktor Yanukovych.

"They didn’t mention the name of the company, so we didn’t know that it was Burisma," the executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Center says. "But it’s actually when it all started." 

British law enforcement agencies then asked Ukrainian law enforcement for help.

"[But] unfortunately, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General (Vitaliy Yarema, Shokin was the deputy prosecutor general - ed.) did not provide evidence that British law enforcement needed. Quite the contrary, they provided attorney of Burisma and Zlochevsky with a document that there is no suspicions of Zlochevsky in PGO office. And this document was given to the court in London, and was one of the key grounds for unseizing $23.5 million,"  Kaleniuk told Hromadske.

She further pointed out that Shokin was dumping the case.

And thirdly, Kaleniuk says, there was no investigation of activities of Hunter Biden in the cases the PGO had under Shokin because the investigated activities dated to period of 2010-2014, while Biden joined the company in April-May 2014.

Kaleniuk believes that Trump’s request for Zelenskyy to interfere into the work of Ukrainian law enforcement would have a “huge” negative impact on the national security of the U.S. 

“And the leverage of the U.S. to push for good governance in Ukraine is in huge danger and significantly undermined,” she adds.

She’s convinced that the impact of the scandal can be “very dramatically negative to Ukraine,” because Kyiv may be left with Europeans only to resist Russia’s pressure.

“And it still has to be investigated what was the source of all these narratives, who was backing up Giuliani with the facts apart from [former Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy] Lutsenko. It was not Lutsenko who created the narrative. He was playing the role created by someone else”, Kaleniuk said.