April 1, 2014 – Present: The investigation into Burisma Holdings

In Email/Dossier/Govt Corruption Investigations by Katie Weddington

Mykola Zlochevsky (Credit: Energy Security For the Future)

“In the spring of 2014, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office opened an investigation at the behest of the UK prosecutors office, which was investigating money laundering allegations against Zlochevsky and had just frozen $23.5 million in assets allegedly belonging to him in early April 2014. Shokin, who wasn’t appointed as general prosecutor until February 2015, wasn’t yet involved in the case.

Ukrainian prosecutors refused to provide the UK with needed documents, and in January 2015, a British court ordered the assets unfrozen. This action was pointedly called out in a speech by Pyatt, who stated, “In the case of former Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky, the UK authorities had seized $23 million in illicit assets that belonged to the Ukrainian people.”

Instead of receiving cooperation from Ukrainian prosecutors, they “sent letters to Zlochevsky’s attorneys attesting that there was no case against him. As a result, the money was freed by the UK court, and shortly thereafter the money was moved to Cyprus.”

Viktor Shokin (Credit: public domain)

On Feb. 10, 2015, Shokin was appointed prosecutor general of Ukraine, and he picked up the investigation into Burisma, which reportedly continued until his formal resignation in February 2016.

Around the same time that Zlochevsky’s assets were being frozen in the UK, Burisma appointed Hunter Biden to its board on April 18, 2014. Hunter’s compensation had never been disclosed by Burisma, which is a private company, but Ryan Toohey, a Burisma spokesman, told The New York Times that Biden’s compensation was “not out of the ordinary” for similar board positions.

However, according to The Hill’s reporting, Hunter Biden’s firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners, was receiving regular payments—“usually more than $166,000 a month”—from Burisma. The payments ran from the spring of 2014 through the fall of 2015 and reportedly totaled more than $3 million.

The Hill article included a written answer from Shokin, who told Solomon that his investigation into Burisma had included plans for “interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”

Yuriy Lutsenko (Credit: Reuters)

According to Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, following Shokin’s forced dismissal, the Burisma investigation was transferred to Sytnyk’s NABU, which then reportedly closed the investigation sometime in 2016.

The Kyiv Post on March 27 published an editorial written by three members of the Anti-Corruption Action Center in Kyiv that disputed Lutsenko’s interview with The Hill. They claim that two cases relating to Burisma are still being investigated by NABU:

“Two cases regarding the extraction of licenses by Zlochevsky’s companies and embezzlement of public funds at the ministry’s procurements during Zlochevsky’s Ministerial tenure remain active and are investigated by NABU.”

They also claim that “none of the criminal proceedings against Burisma were closed by NABU.” They acknowledged that the case concerning illegal issuance of licenses to extract natural resources were transferred to NABU in December 2015, but claim that SAP missed procedural deadlines for a lawsuit on canceling those licenses.

The politics within Ukraine are extremely complicated, and corruption is endemic, often leading to conflicting accounts of events. (Read more: The Epoch Times, 4/26/2019)