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19 Aug, 2019 10:56

Ukraine’s ex-president Poroshenko siphoned off at least $8 billion, US businessman claims

Ukraine’s ex-president Poroshenko siphoned off at least $8 billion, US businessman claims

Ukraine’s former president, Petro Poroshenko, withdrew at least $8 billion from the country while he was in office, American billionaire Sam Kislin claims, adding that it’s impossible to bring back the bulk of the “stolen” money.

Kislin, a Ukrainian-born businessman, who emigrated to the US decades ago, was denied entry to Ukraine last year on the pretext of a necessity to protect state economic interests. He says that the ban was issued on then incumbent president Poroshenko’s orders, because he was afraid that Kislin could expose corruption.

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“Poroshenko alone withdrew from Ukraine at least $8 billion during his presidency,” Kislin told local online outlet Strana.ua. “Only from facts known to me, between $700 million and $800 million were withdrawn through the state-owned company ‘Centerenergo’,” the entrepreneur said, explaining that the money was transferred to offshore companies controlled by the ex-president.

While investors want their money back, only $5 billion out of $8 billion can be recovered. Court rulings may force Ukrainian taxpayers to foot the bill, Kislin said.

“But I hope that Poroshenko will be held responsible for this with his own property and money,” the businessman added.

Several criminal cases allegedly involving the former Ukrainian leader have now opened in the US, according to Kislin. While he said he could not elaborate on the details, one of the cases is reportedly linked to misappropriation of IMF financial aid, that was allegedly withdrawn through commercial banks and then distributed on Poroshenko’s orders.

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He added that for his alleged crimes Poroshenko could face up to 300 years in a US prison. In March, a month before the presidential elections in Ukraine, Kislin accused Poroshenko of committing genocide against the Ukrainian people and predicted that he would soon lose power. Poroshenko eventually suffered a major defeat at the hands of comedian-turned-politician Volodymyr Zelensky.

After the elections, Kislin’s ban on entering Ukraine was lifted by the new head of the Ukrainian security service SBU. The businessman says he wants to help with the investigation of “Poroshenko’s crimes” with assistance from international law enforcement agencies.

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