20 May 2020 16:30

Servant of People party forming parliamentary commission to investigate Biden's possible influence on Poroshenko

KYIV. May 20 (Interfax) - The parliamentary faction of the Servant of the People party in Ukraine is setting up a temporary commission to investigate audio recordings which were published on Tuesday, the voices on which resemble those of former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and former United States Vice President Joseph Biden.

"Together with our colleagues, we're setting up a temporary investigative commission to look into the facts that have been made public," MP Oleksandr Kachura said at the Verkhovna Rada's plenary session on Wednesday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier that it is up to law enforcement agencies to react to the information about Biden's alleged influence on Poroshenko, which the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office has already done.

The Prosecutor General's Office said earlier in the day that it had entered information on the articles of high treason and abuse of power or office entailing grave consequences into the Unified Register of Pretrial Investigations based on a report from MP Andriy Derkach, who on Tuesday published audio recordings that could indicate Biden's influence on Poroshenko.

Derkach said he obtained the recordings from investigative journalists, and the recordings themselves were made personally by Poroshenko.

One of the subjects mentioned in the recordings is the receipt of "$1 billion in exchange for preserving Burisma schemes," Derkach said.

The recordings are dated 2015-2016, and the speakers, in particular, discussed the possible dismissal of then Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, "who was investigating the Burisma case and zeroed in on Biden at the time," he said.

"Biden flew to Kyiv to put pressure on Petro Oleksiyovych [Poroshenko] over Shokin. In Biden's pocket there was a weighty argument... $1 billion worth of loan guarantees... the price of saving Biden from prison," Derkach said.

The $1 billion in question was spent on securing military government orders for businesses related to Poroshenko, he said.

Another subject mentioned in the recordings is the 2016 parliamentary elections, Derkach said. "Poroshenko admits that there is no coalition [...] instead of following the constitution and calling reelections, Petro Oleksiyovych [Poroshenko] kept promises given personally to Biden and blocked the Cabinet of Ministers' dismissal," he said.

"These conversations clearly show... that it was Biden who was running Ukraine," Derkach said.

These audio recordings also suggest Biden's influence through the supervisory boards of Ukraine's major state-owned enterprises, he said.

"We've passed all of the hours-long recordings we have at our disposal, along with a report on treason and facts of international corruption, to the Office of the Prosecutor General [...] for initiating a criminal procedure," Derkach said.

Derkach also said he believes that Verkhovna Rada Speaker Dmytro Razumkov "is blocking the establishment of an investigative commission... which is a violation of the law on the rules of procedure."

"Such a commission could effectively investigate facts of international corruption," Derkach said.