Petro Poroshenko’s criminal cases

criminal poroshenko

It is virtually impossible to compile the full list of criminal cases initiated against Poroshenko after the end of his term. Some of these cases were closed, but then reopened by the court. In September, 2020, Ilya Novikov, Poroshenko’s lawyer, said at one of the briefings: “We’re constantly asked, what is the number of Poroshenko’s criminal cases. I say it again, we don’t know… we can’t be hundred percent sure, that there’s something we don’t know about, but as of today, it is 58 criminal cases.” In 2021 the court initiated new criminal cases with Poroshenko as a defendant. On January, 1, 2022, Yaroslav Kendzior, member of Parliament (MP, I-VI convocations) wrote a post on his Facebook page where he stated that there were 130 criminal proceedings instituted against Petro Poroshenko. Despite all the difficulties in coming up with a precise number of criminal cases involving the ex-President, we’ll attempt to highlight the most significant ones.

Sergei Semochko, the intelligence operative 

The paintings and duties

In the case related to works of art, Poroshenko was a witness. The State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) opened criminal proceedings for moving of 43 paintings by the world famous artists across the border. The investigation had a suspicion, that they were coming in past customs, as well as that there were schemes with customs duties. On the day of the planned interrogation on this case the ex-President ostentatiously opened the exhibition of these paintings at the Ivan Honchar Museum. 

Poroshenko and Biden 

The Prosecutor General’s office was conducting a pre-trial investigation into possible interference by the former Vice-President Joe Biden in activities of Victor Shokin, ex-Prosecutor General, dismissed in 2016. Andrey Derkach, the Ukrainian MP, published the recordings of conversation between ex-President Poroshenko and Joe Biden, and he also filed a report to the Prosecutor General, where he stated of evidences of high treason committed by Petro Poroshenko influenced by the US high ranking officials.

2014 armed conflict in Donbas 

Nestor Shufrich, MP from Victor Medvedchuk’s party Opposition Platform – For Life, had filed a report to SBI, after which a criminal proceeding was opened into the offensive operation in Donbas in June, 2014. He accused the ex-President of bloodshed in Donbas in summer of 2014, and of violation of agreements that had been reached within the Contact Group, OSCE-Ukraine-Russia with representatives of self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR). Refusal to adhere to the negotiation arrangements has led to big numbers of deaths among soldiers of the Ukrainian military and the civilians due to the order of Poroshenko to launch the offensive.

Arrest of the Ukrainian sailors and seizure of the naval vessels 

In November, 2018, the three Ukrainian war ships made an attempt to sail from Odessa to Mariupol. In the region of Kerch Strait the vessels were seized together with the crews by the Russian border patrol. The Ukrainians were accused of the attempt of illegal crossing of the State border. This incident resulted in imposing a one-month martial law on a part of the territory of Ukraine. According to SBI, the incident was used by Poroshenko as an attempt to usurp power a few months before the presidential elections, aiming at imposing martial law nationwide, but the Parliament supported only a one-month term and only in certain regions of Ukraine.  

Resale of the Priamyi TV channel

As stated by Andrey Portnov, SBI was investigating the legitimacy of purchase of the Priamy TV channel, as well as possible tax fraud and money laundry in the course of the deal. The official owner of the channel is Vladimir Makeenko, former MP from the Party of Regions, who in 2017 had purchased the channel from entities linked to the inner circle of Victor Yanukovych. The TV channel has been acting in the interest of Poroshenko for a long time. It is considered, that Vladimir Makeenko is a figurehead. SBI conceals information in the interests of the investigation. In 2021 Poroshenko took over a part of assets of the channel, and later, the relevant assets were seized. 

Appointment of Groysman as the Prime Minister 

SBI opened a criminal proceeding at the request of MP’s Nestor Shufrich and Vasily Nimchenko for the alleged “takeover of power” and falsification of the official documents in the course of appointing Vladimir Groysman as the Prime Minister. They claimed, that on the date of submittal of the Prime Minister appointment papers there was no coalition in the Parliament, (as it is envisaged by the Constitution there has to be one), thus, the President and the Speaker abused their authority.  

Forfeiture of Yanukovych’s $1.5 billion 

In early 2020, National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) opened a criminal proceeding for possible incitement by Poroshenko to embezzlement of the Wonderbliss, Ltd offshore company through forfeiture of $1.5 billion. The money was kept on the frozen accounts of the ex-president Yanukovych. The Cyprus offshore company, suffered from this forfeiture, went to court, and, in compliance with the court order, NABU initiated a criminal case. In March, 2017, the court in Kramatorsk denied the appeal by several Cyprus companies not agreeing with the forfeiture, but on June 16, 2020, the Supreme Court of Ukraine reversed the decision on denial of the appeal. Therefore, the forfeiture case is ongoing.


The High Judicial Council recommended the appointment of a group of individuals as the judges, but the ex-President did not appoint them timely. The judges, who were not appointed by Poroshenko, have been getting their salaries, while in fact having not exercising the powers and doing their job. Therefore, actions by the ex-President were, above all, allegedly detrimental to the State budget. SBI investigates possible abuse of authority by Poroshenko.  

Nationalization of Privatbank 

In December 2016, the biggest bank in Ukraine – Privatbank has been nationalized. Igor Kolomoysky was the owner of the bank. He stated, that nationalization of the bank he owned was illegal and challenged it in court. In April, 2020, the district administrative court of Kiev sustained one of the claims by Kolomoysky to the National Bank and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine regarding nationalization of the bank.

Situation room in the Office of the President of Ukraine (OPU)

SBI commenced investigation of possible loss of “physical storage media”, containing confidential information, by officials of OPU. Having entered the building of the Administration of the President of Ukraine (now – OPU) the team of new President Zelensky discovered, that the equipment was missing in the situation room, where important meetings had been held with participation of the President. These included monitors and servers, where, allegedly, the confidential information was stored. Poroshenko’s spokesman stated, that all the situation room equipment had been rented by the ex-President with his own money, and it was returned to the owner. 

The “Smithy on Rybalsky” plant

In 2018, Petro Poroshenko sold the Kiev “Smithy on Rybalsky” plant he owned to Sergei Tigipko, the Ukrainian businessman and former politic. SBI started investigating details of the deal. Andrei Portnov stated, that this could be a simulated sale; according to Portnov, Poroshenko could remain the actual owner of the plant, while $300 million said to be paid for the enterprise purchase could be “laundered’ through the Cyprus offshores. 

It was noted in the investigation files, that Poroshenko, being the President of Ukraine, had colluded with officials from the Ministry of Finance, and in 2017 obtained a $19 million loan from the State-owned Ukreximbank for the “Smithy on Rybalsky” plant. This year the Ministry of Finance paid back $3.6 million of the loan, since the plant refused to return it. 

Vacation in the Maldives 

Petro Poroshenko and his family, being on vacation, spent first days of 2018 in the Maldives. Back then the Ukrainian society was discussing whether it was simply ethical for the President of one of the Europe’s poorest countries, being, in point of fact, at war, to spend a week relaxing in a ritzy resort area.  Investigations by the Schemes journalists revealed, that a man named “Petro Poroshenko” was not among passengers of the charter flight on which he and his family travelled to and from the Maldives. This fact became the subject of SBI attention, and they commenced investigation of the ex-President crossing the border with false documents.

Deportation of Saakashvili 

Mikhail Saakashvili, the ex-President of Georgia, moved to Ukraine by invitation of Petro Poroshenko. In May, 2015, he obtained the Ukrainian passport on a fast-track basis and was appointed as the governor of the strategically important Odessa oblast (region). In November, 2016, Saakashvili was dismissed from his post as the governor. After that he announced himself being in opposition to the President of Ukraine. He launched his own party “Movement of new forces” and arranged several “marches for impeachment” of Poroshenko. In July, 2017, Petro Poroshenko, by his order, revoked Saakashvili’s Ukrainian citizenship while he was abroad. Constitution of Ukraine does not envisage possibility of such an act. Today SBI is investigating “illegal detention of Saakashvili and his unlawful deportation from Ukraine”. In June, 2021 the Supreme court of Ukraine held that readmission of Poroshenko was legally compliant.

Escape of judge Chaus

In August, 2016, Nikolay Chaus, a judge of one of Kiev district courts was caught while taking a $150, 000 bribe. The Ukrainian Parliament, having been on vacation at that moment, was not able to swiftly vote for rendering Chaus’s immunities insecure. Later he appeared in Moldova. SBI is investigating possible involvement of Poroshenko in illegal trafficking of Chaus to Moldova. Today, Chaus is in Ukraine, as he had been kidnapped by the Ukrainian intelligence services in result of the scandalous special operation on the territory of Moldova. 

Recreational compound “Ivyshka”

SBI is investigating change of owner of the recreational compound “Ivyshka” for the Ukrainian Blind Association, situated in the elite settlement Kozin in Kiev suburbs. The territory of this compound was fraudulently seized by officials of the OOO “Soyz-Invest” allegedly linked to Petro Poroshenko. It was in the Ukrainian media.  

Cession of land in Nikolayev oblast (region)

In 2016, Petro Poroshenko issued an ordinance with which he revoked a resolution by head of one of the district state administrations in Nikolayev oblast on cession of 1500 ha agricultural lands into a category of the Sate reserve land. Mikhail Dobkin, the ex-mayor of Kharkov and an MP of previous convocation of the Parliament, says these actions of Poroshenko may be considered as the abuse of authority.

Case of “Ukroboronpom” (the State Concern, defense holding company) 

Andrey Portnov accuses Petro Poroshenko, Valeria Gontareva, and other officials from “Ukroboronprom” and “Ukreximbank” of illegitimate multimillion transfers of sums from the State Concern to the offshores and other jurisdictions. In January, 2016, management of the National Bank of Ukraine, allegedly on behalf of Poroshenko and supported by Gontareva, then Chairman of the Board, have abated the enactments on foreign exchange controls within foreign economic activities. After that, “Ukroboronprom” has been able to make foreign money transfers as a down payment. Besides, the limitations on the amounts of such transactions were lifted. 

Interference in the activity of the court

Anton Chernushenko, head of the Kiev Appellate Court, stated that the ex-President and Alexey Filatov, the deputy head of presidential administration had been interfering in the activity of his court. In that way, the presidential administration has been “supporting by phone” the motion of law enforcement officers for wiretapping of ambassadors of France, Germany, Belarus, and IMF mission to Ukraine. Chernushenko has testified in writing of the direct interference of Poroshenko in legal argument as to allotment of shares of the “Neftegazdobycha” company, as well as that the President influenced the court decision on seizure of shares of one of the biggest agro industrial companies. 

“Rotterdam +“

SBI is investigating the effect of the “Rotterdam +” formula for determining prices of coal for the power plants. During the presidency of Petro Poroshenko, the main player on this market has been the DTEK company owned by Rinat Akhmetov, and the company was also the principal beneficiary party.  

High treason and financing of terrorism

On September, 4, 2020, the State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) initiated 15 new criminal cases against the ex-President Petro Poroshenko. The criminal cases were instituted under the following articles of the Criminal Code: violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, overthrow of the constitutional order and seizure of state power, appropriation of property, and interference in the functioning of computer systems. It was stated by Igor Golovan, the lawyer of Poroshenko. 

It is just a short list of criminal cases associated with the activity of Petro Poroshenko. The exact number and status of the cases are unknown to the defendant himself, neither his lawyers know about it. Many cases have been classified. Many cases are prosecuted by different authorities – from the State Bureau of Investigations to the State Security Service. Many of the cases look like they were initiated to deliberately discredit the actual accusations and create an illusion of the political persecution. 

We deliberately don’t offer insight into these cases, going on to consider the major one of them, for which he was charged with in December of 2021. One of the defendant in the case is Victor Medvedchuk, leader of the Opposition Platform – For Life party, who since the last summer has been on house arrest with electronic anklet. His assets were seized, as well as Poroshenko’s.

The coal case

On December, 20, Alexey Simonenko, the Deputy Prosecutor General, signed a presented suspicion of high treason and assistance for the activities of a terrorist organization in relation to Petro Poroshenko, the fifth President of Ukraine. According to the investigation, he may be suspected of arranging a criminal scheme of coal shipments from the occupied Donbas. 

SBU communicated the following: “All the evidence show, that Petro Poroshenko while being in the office of the President of Ukraine, have been using authority and tools, delegated to him, in order to terminate the coal contracts with South Africa. Then, upon demand of representatives from the Russian Federation he arranged for signing the contracts in the name of Ukraine on coal shipments from the uncontrolled territories”. According to the investigation, while exercising his presidential functions, Poroshenko has made Ukraine energy dependent on power supplies from Russia and the uncontrolled territories. On October 8, 2020, the same suspicion was presented to Victor Medvedchuk, MP from the Opposition Platform – For Life party. On November, 12, the suspicion was presented to Vladimir Demchishin, the former Minister of Energy. In January, 2022, an international search warrant has been issued for his arrest with regard to the case of 2014-2015 coal shipments from the occupied territories in the East of Ukraine and assistance to the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR.  

On January, 17, Tatiana Sapyan, SBI Communication Advisor, released the following information at the briefing: “In September-November, 2021, in this proceeding it had already been reported on a suspicion presented to Victor Medvedchuk, MP, Sergey Kuzyara, the businessman, and Vladimir Demchishin, the former Minister of Energy, (…) On December, 20, 2021, in this criminal proceeding the fifth President of Ukraine, now an MP (Poroshenko), was notified of a suspicion in high treason and assistance for the activities of a terrorist organization. The investigation is ongoing.  All perpetrators will be brought to justice. As of today, Sergey Kuzyara is on house arrest, Victor Medvedchuk is on house arrest, Vladimir Demchishin is on the international wanted list, his whereabouts are currently unknown, but he’s being sought and pursued.”

The State Bureau of Investigations considers that: “They are suspected of purchasing coal from the self-proclaimed republics using the State funds. According to the investigation, by their actions the perpetrators have made Ukraine’s energy sector dependent from the Russian Federation and the terrorist organizations, which, in turn, undermined the economic security of the state in 2014-2015, denied the opportunity to diversify sources of supply of energy resources, and provided Russia with more opportunities to further interfere in the domestic affairs of Ukraine, and perform subversive activities.”

On January, 17, Monday, the ex-President Petro Poroshenko returned to Ukraine from abroad. The law enforcement authorities started to select a preventive measure for him to be employed in connection with accusations of high treason.  

A brief summary of the case:

  • On December, 20, 2021, Petro Poroshenko, the ex-President of Ukraine, was presented with accusations of high treason. It related to coal shipments to the Ukrainian power plants from the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR.
  • Poroshenko ignored the SBI investigators, who attempted to bring him for questioning, after which he quickly went abroad.
  • Poroshenko recorded a video address in which he stated that he was not going to appear at SBI for questioning. Instead, however, on December, 23, his lawyers Ilya Novikov and Sergey Golvan came to SBI.
  • Alexey Simonenko, the acting Prosecutor General, provided the Parliament with report on accusations of Petro Poroshenko. The official letter was addressed to Ruslan Stefanchuk, the speaker of the Parliament.
  • The Kiev Pechersk Court arrested the assets of the fifth President of Ukraine. 
  • Poroshenko’s lawyers requested the Court to schedule the session for January, 17, the date the President to return to Ukraine. In particular, the request concerned a session on imposing a preventive measure.
  • On January, 17, Poroshenko returned to Ukraine and went to Pechersky Court for the session on imposing a preventive measure on him in the high treason case.
  • The judge retired to the deliberation room at about 5:45 PM. At 10:40 PM the presiding judge announced, that the decision will be made public on January, 19, at 2:00 PM.
  • On January, 19, the Court released Petro Poroshenko on personal recognizance. He was obliged to surrender his foreign passport to the State Migration Service and give a written undertaking not to leave his usual place of residence. The Prosecutor General Venediktova stated that the Prosecutor General office will file an appeal against the Court decision on such a preventive measure. 
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