Ukraine probes ex-leader Petro Poroshenko in intelligence case

Poroshenko is suspected of issuing illegal decree in 2018 related to his dealings with foreign intelligence service.

    Poroshenko lost the presidential election last year [File: Adam Berry/Getty Images]
    Poroshenko lost the presidential election last year [File: Adam Berry/Getty Images]

    Ukraine's state investigation bureau has said it suspected the country's former president Petro Poroshenko of issuing an illegal decree in 2018 related to his dealings with the foreign intelligence service.

    Poroshenko, who became a legislator after losing the presidential election last year, said on Wednesday the case related to the appointment of a deputy head of the foreign intelligence service and described the accusation as politically motivated.

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    The bureau said the former president was suspected of "issuing a clearly criminal order" when "he persuaded an official ... to exceed his authority and official powers", without giving further details about the incident.

    "The issue of determining a pre-trial detention for the suspect is currently being resolved," the bureau said in its statement.

    'Double standards'

    "What is happening now has nothing to do with the rule of law, democracy or crime investigation. These are double standards, prosecution of the opposition and accusations against the leader of the opposition," Poroshenko wrote on Facebook.

    He said he had the right to make leadership appointments to the foreign intelligence service.

    Ukrainian law enforcement bodies are investigating more than 10 different cases in which they suspect Poroshenko is involved. He has said they are part of a political campaign against him.

    The bureau said last month it was investigating the shipment to Ukraine of 43 paintings that were by famous artists and that were in Poroshenko's collection.

    Poroshenko, who has been repeatedly summoned for questioning as a witness, said the paintings were imported by him legally and that he had personally paid all taxes and customs duties.

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a comic actor and political newcomer who beat Poroshenko in the 2019 race, promised during last year's election campaign to pursue criminal investigations against top officials in the previous administration.

    SOURCE: News agencies