Tymoshenko Bloc Denounces Trout Cacheris Findings as “Politically Motivated”
Kyiv, Ukraine, 14 October 2010: The Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko – Batkivshchyna rejects the findings of the investigation undertaken by Trout Cacheris and its associates on behalf of the administration of President Viktor Yanukovych. It says that the investigation findings are politically motivated and represent another example of the systematic oppression being directed at the leaders of the opposition by the increasingly authoritarian government (see Notes to Editors).
Hryhoriy Nemyria, Foreign Policy Advisor to the Leader of the Opposition, Yulia Tymoshenko, said, “From the outset this shameful exercise has been designed to discredit the opposition and was timed to come out before local elections on 31 October. The investigation was undertaken by a US law firm that lacks the necessary skills to undertake a proper financial audit and was assisted by companies with well-known connections to Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.
“The investigation focuses exclusively on the period the previous government was in office and fails completely to examine well publicised allegations of corruption when Mr Yanukovych was prime minister. We are witnessing the systematic rolling back of democracy in Ukraine with intimidation of political opponents and censorship of the media taking place on a daily basis. This bogus politically motivated investigation is merely another piece in the authoritarian jig-saw.”
The Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko-Batkivshchyna calls upon the international community to condemn the intimidation and persecution of political opponents of the Yanukovych regime, and for the president to uphold the pledge he made to the EU to safeguard human rights and democratic freedoms.
The European People’s Party, in its resolution on 13 September, said, “The fight against corruption in which only members of the former government are picked out can hardly be seen as genuine and politically unbiased.”
The cost of the investigation so far is believed to be $2 million and funded by the Ukrainian taxpayer.
Notes to Editors:
The following points should be noted:
* Trout Cacheris was retained by the Ministry of Finance. The US-law firm does not possess the requisite skills to undertake a professional audit and has no experience of working in Ukraine or former Soviet bloc countries. At a press conference on 9 June, 2010, lead attorney Plato Cacheris denied he was aware of the “political realities” in Ukraine before starting the investigation.
* Prior to the investigation commencing, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov pre-judged its outcome. He set the agenda for his client by alleging that the former government had misspent $12.4 billion of state money.
* The period of the investigation was focused exclusively at the period
Ms Tymoshenko’s administration was in office. No investigation was made regarding the activities of the governments of Yuriy Yekhanurov (September 2005-August 2006) or Viktor Yanukovych (August 2006-December 2007). This contradicts what Plato Cacheris said in the 9 June press conference. Then he specified the period would cover “the last several years, we’d say three or four years, that’s my estimate at this time.”
* Trout Cacheris was assisted by the detective company Kroll Associates. Kroll was involved in the investigation into the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze. On 2 October 2001, the US-think tank the Jamestown Foundation stated that Kroll “failed” to conduct a fair and full investigation.
* Trout Cacheris was also assisted by the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld. This company has represented Dmytro Firtash the main Ukrainian owner of RosUkrEnergo, the discredited energy intermediary. Ms Tymoshenko removed RosUkrEnergo from gas import contracts in 2009, accusing the company of corrupt practices. RosUkrEnergo has been widely criticised by independent organisations including the respected British-based anti-corruption watchdog Global Witness. Also, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld has represented Rinat Akhmetov, who is a Party of Regions deputy (MP) and Ukraine’s richest man. Both Mr Firtash and Mr Akhmetov financially backed Viktor Yanukovych’s presidential campaign.
The following chronology provides some examples of the persecution of opposition figures.
* 7April: Ms Tymoshenko summoned to the Prosecutor General’s Office to answer questions regarding her pronouncements that pressure had been exerted on the judges of the Constitutional Court to rule on the legitimacy of the new parliamentary coalition.
* 10 May: Ms Tymoshenko is summoned to the Prosecutor General’s Office to give evidence on a previously closed 2004 case, re-opened against her.
* 26 June: former Head of State Customs Anatoly Makarenko arrested in relation to charges of negligence, for a customs clearance in 2009 of 11 billion cubic meters of gas allegedly belonging to RosUkrEnergo.
* 12 July: former Deputy Chairman of Naftohaz Ihor Didenko arrested in relation to the same case.
* 22 July: First Deputy Head of the State Treasury, Tetiana Hrytsun, arrested in line with charges over irregularities relating to the Odessa Portside Plant privatization.
* 11 August: the Prosecutor General’s Office opens criminal proceedings against former Minister for the Economy, Bohdan Danylyshyn. He is placed on an Interpol watch list as he is abroad.
* 21 August: Military prosecutors detain Valeriy Ivaschenko the former First Deputy Defence Minister who is charged with illegally making a decision to sell the property of the Feodosiya Shipbuilding and Mechanical Plant.
* 3 September: Former Labor Minister Lyudmyla Denysova said that she is being targeted by the authorities. She said that a special group arrived in Crimea to dig up dirt about her.
* 16 September: Ms Tymoshenko receives a menacing phone call from an unnamed man who warns her over her visit to Brussels on 14 September and the resolution of the European People’s Party, which was critical of the anti-democratic actions of President Viktor Yanukovych’s administration. The caller tells her that she will soon “spit blood.”
* 17, 20, 21 September: Former First Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Turchynov is summoned to the Prosecutor General’s Office for questioning over the Naftohaz-RosUkrEnergo gas affair and the sale of discounted gas to large enterprises. Mr Turchynov again explains that on entering office his team closed down the scheme which, ironically, was set up under the government of Viktor Yanukovych.
* 23 September: Mikhail Livinksy, Yulia Tymoshenko’s Chief of Staff was called in for questioning by the SBU.
For further information please contact:
BYuT-Batkivshchyna Press Office
Tel: +380 67 323 6040