MOSCOW–Just as the U.S. Congress and the world prepared to hear bombshell testimony in the impeachment hearings this week, headlines in the Ukrainian and Russian press Wednesday claimed that the government in Kyiv is opening a criminal investigation into the natural gas company Burisma and Hunter Biden, the lad of onetime U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who sat on its board.
That would be a bombshell in itself. Trump’s stres on Ukraine’s brand-new chairman to announce such investigations is at the center of charges that Trump mistreated the power of his office–even as Trump has manipulated the publicity to continue smearing Joe Biden, a probable challenger in the 2020 elections.
Right-wing Twitter feeds in the United Commonwealth claimed not only that the investigation had been opened, but that there had been an ” prosecution” of Burisma’s founder–until Twitter suspended one of the areas propagandizing that impostor story, and others promptly removed their posts.
According to Ukraine’s prosecutor general there is no such investigation into Burisma and the Bidens by its term of office, and there are no outstanding indictments.
But the impostor story is important nonetheless. It marks some of Ukraine’s politicians and oligarchs want to curry favor with U.S. President Donald Trump in ways connected to the impeachment inquiries. They also have promoted what Fiona Hill, onetime major lead for Europe and Russia at the Trump White House, vouched on Thursday is a” fictional narrative” of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 elections.
In the complicated and distorted political countryside of Ukraine, some of those promoting these myths are associated with President Volodymyr Zelensky and his Servant of the People party. This, even though the record pictures Zelensky and his close aides have sought to steer clear of American politics.
The story began when two members of Ukraine’s parliament stated at a news conference on Wednesday that “investigations” have been opened into Burisma, Hunter Biden and Burisma’s founder, billionaire and former minister of natural resources Nikolay Zlochevsky.
Alexander Dubinsky, a Ukrainian MP from Zelensky’s ruling Servant of the People party, claimed that Hunter Biden and his “partners” had is payable a total of $16.5 million with” fund grew through criminal means and money laundering .” It is difficult to ascertain what Dubinsky intended by “partners,” possibly other members of the board, which included a former director of Poland.
Ukrainians know Dubinsky as a YouTube blogger and a presenter on the 1+1 television channel which belongs to Ukraine’s most influential oligarch, Ihor Kolomoisky. Importantly, he was Zelensky’s patron when Zelensky was just an actor in a sitcom about an unlikely common man who becomes Ukraine’s head of state. Kolomoisky had expended years living in Israel after hoax commissions were leveled against him by the previous government in Kyiv, but he returned to Ukraine following Zelensky’s election.
Another member of Ukraine’s parliament, Andriy Derkach, said at the Wednesday press conference that new information has been help find” investigate journalists” about international fund laundering strategies involving Zlochevsky and ex-President Victor Yanukovych’s family,” in particular, with regard to laundering of criminally obtained income.” Zlochevsky held his cabinet position as minister of the environment and natural resources under Yanukovych, who was overthrown by the popular Maidan Revolution of Dignity in 2014 and fled to Russia.
Derkach has an interesting background. He was formerly a member of Yanukovych’s pro-Russian Party of Spheres, which was advised by Paul Manafort before Manafort became Trump’s campaign chairman in 2016.
By the time Trump was elected, Derkach had become an independent. In early 2017, according to reports by Politico that time, Derkach began pushing publicly for a is investigating what he claimed had been meddling by the Ukrainian government of then-President Petro Poroshenko in the U.S. presidential race.
In a tweet on July 25, 2017, Trump announced on the U.S. attorney general’s office to investigate” Ukrainian efforts to sabotage the Trump campaign .” That was exactly two years before Trump questioned a “favor” of Zelensky, which was for Ukraine to announce simply such an investigation.
Last month MP Derkach claimed that Ukraine had paid Hunter Biden $900,000 for lobbying through a company referred Rosemont Seneca Partners, the investment trust Hunter Biden founded with Chris Heinz, the stepson of former Secretary of State John Kerry.
Trump’s personal advocate, Rudy Giuliani referred to those claims when he appeared on Hannity on Fox News last-place month.
Only a couple of hours after the MPs dissolved their show in Kyiv, Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka spoke at his own news conference about the review of all cases mentioning “Biden” and “Burisma.” And the most important message for Washington was loud and clear:” The Burisma probe does not exist ,” said Ryaboshapka. He added that there were 13 specimen mentioning Zlochevsky, who is wanted in Ukraine but has not been apprehended.
” Here is what is going to happen to these cases next ,” said Ryaboshapka.” They will be handed over in accordance with their jurisdiction. Some of them will be transferred to NABU[ the National Anti-Corruption Bureau ], others perhaps to the National Bureau of Investigation, and the rest maybe to the SBU[ Security Service of Ukraine ], where they concentrating on business terrorism or terrorist acts .”( Terrorism in this context can refer to Russian backed separatists .)
Ryaboshapka likewise pointed out that he had not discussed the Biden case with any foreign authorities:” I haven’t been asked a few questions, haven’t been pressured or given any requests .”
Testimony at the impeachment hearings intimates Trump did not care what the prosecutors say. He wanted President Zelensky to commit in public.
As for the billionaire Zlochevsky, the prosecutor explained that the investigation into the Burisma founder was expanded to include large-scale fraud, but then the case was suspended because Zlochevsky’s whereabouts were unknown.
Even before the prosecutor general clarified the issue of Biden and Burisma investigations, solicitous Kyiv beholders had realized their own conclusions about the real agenda behind the statements of MP Dubinsky and MP Derkach.
” These are Kolomoisky the businessman’s parties, they represent his interests, I disbelieve that this constitutes Ukraine’s interests ,” says Ivan Yakovina of the magazine Novoe Vremia.” At the moment , nobody is investigating Burisma .”
Ukraine’s guiding falsification soldier, Daria Kaleniuk, told The Daily Beast that various Ukrainian politicians are now utilizing the impeachment process for their personal interests.” Dubinsky is supported by about 20 percent of the Servant of the People party. They are now in contradiction to the party’s leadership and to President Zelensky. And Kolomoisky’s hand in this is getting more and more clear .”
Kaleniuk also said that she had seen the “investigation” certificates mentioning a U.S. based investment company.” There was no sign, exactly a memo, a one page Word document–the investigation was pushed forward by Konstyantyn Kulyk,” she said. Kulyk is a prosecutor who has faced allegations of corruption himself. Independent corruption soldiers ought to have propagandizing to have him removed from the prosecutor’s office
In an interview with The New York Times Kolomoisky said that if he were Trump, he would proceed with the investigations. The oligarch peril the Democrats:” If they get smart-alecky with us, we’ll “re going to the” Russians .” This aggressive absurdity is typical of Kolomoisky. The Daily Beast asked about during a lunch infringe at the Yalta European Strategy conference in September about Trump releasing $390 million in military aid and $ 140 million more than the amount Kyiv had expected.
” Is this big money for United Country? When they present us at least one trillion dollars, then we are going to thank them ,” Kolomoisky said.
It is hard to overstate how important it is for Washington to understand the penetration of immorality in Ukraine and the game played by Kolomoisky. The oligarch is widely criticized for his scornful announcements “to embrace” Russia.
” What is the fastest mode to resolve issues and regenerate liaisons ?” Kolomoisky asked rhetorically in his interview with The New York Times .” Only coin ,” he said.
Many in Ukraine believe that Kolomoisky is in fact desperate for coin after a British courtroom freeze $1.9 billion of his assets. But apparently the oligarch, who is very close to President Zelensky, is still potent fairly.” Kolomoisky is believed to control 25 percent of Servant of the People’s Rada lieutenants ,” says Jim Brooke, editor in chief of the Ukraine Business News journal.
Could such illustrations play a crucial role in the destinies of the American president? Once the “Pandoras box” of Ukraine’s corruption is opened, in fact, almost anything is possible.