Ukraine President Poroshenko Responds To Money Laundering Allegations
While much of the media has been focusing on the Panama Papers allegations surrounding “close friends” of Russian president Vladimir Putin, one person who has beendirectly named as implicated in offshore tax scandal is Ukraine’s billionaire president, Petro Poroshenko.
This is what the ICIJ had to say about this specific involvement:
Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s billionaire “chocolate king,” whose corporate empire includes automotive plants, a shipyard, a TV channel and the country’s largest candy company, won the presidential election of 2014 by a landslide, a result widely attributed to his political acumen. Poroshenko has adroitly shifted his political affiliations over the years and avoided being tainted by Ukraine’s long line of corrupt leaders and oligarchs. Although he vowed to oppose the oligarchs and “prevent the inappropriate influence of private interests on the state,” critics are still waiting for him to deliver. A supporter of the 2004 pro-Europe, pro-democracy Orange Revolution, he also has positioned himself as a nationalist who could pursue peaceful relations with Russia.
Inside the Mossack Fonseca data
Offshore firm holds assets including a European candy manufacturer
In August 2014, as Russian troops rolled into Eastern Ukraine, Poroshenko became the sole shareholder of Prime Asset Partners Limited, which Mossack Fonseca set up in the British Virgin Islands. A Cyprus law firm representing the newly acquired company described it as a “holding company of Cyprus and Ukrainian companies of the Roshen Group, one of the largest European manufacturers of confectionery products.” The firm wrote that, though Prime Assets Partners was for “a person involved in politics,” it had “nothing to do with his political activities.” During his 2015 presidential campaign, Poroshenko had pledged to sell most of his assets, all of which were transferred to Prime Assets Capital, according to a news account. In October 2014, a Ukrainian bank in which Poroshenko owns a majority stake, International Invest Bank, wrote a reference letter to Mossack Fonseca saying that his accounts there “have been conducted properly up to our satisfaction.”
ICIJ laid out the following Share Register facsimile for Prime Asset Partners and Memorandum of sole director as evidence of Poroshenko’s involvement:
Moments ago, Poroshenko had a “response” both the local and international community: this is what he said.
I believe I might be the first top official in Ukraine who treats declaring of assets, paying taxes, conflict of interest issues seriously
— Петро Порошенко (@poroshenko) April 4, 2016
It may take more than a tweet to convince his fellow citizens, however. Ukraine’s Podrobnosti reports that Oleh Lyashko’s Radical Party has initiated the beginning of impeachment process of Poroshenko and is seeking to establish a special investigative commission in the parliament to investigate his alleged offshore holdings.