Ukraine’s Poroshenko threatens to ‘sue UK media’ over corruption reports – journalist
A journalist from The Times newspaper in the UK says he and other western colleagues received legal threats from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's lawyers for publishing materials on alleged corruption uncovered by a fugitive Kiev lawmaker.
“Just got letter from Poroshenko lawyers threatening to sue UK media repeating Onischenko claim he bribed MPs. That Poroshenko bribed MPs,” said a tweet from Times journalist Maxim Tucker.
Just got letter from Poroshenko lawyers threatening to sue UK media repeating Onischenko claim he bribed MPs. That Poroshenko bribed MPs.— Maxim Tucker (@MaxRTucker) December 8, 2016
According to the reporter, he is refraining from publishing the whole letter, since it is “marked private” and could subsequently result in a legal case which he might lose, Tucker wrote.
The journalist said that he is far from the only one to have received such a message from Poroshenko’s lawyers.
“I can tell you that I am not the only UK journalist this letter has been sent to,” Tucker’s tweet reads.
3/ I can tell you that I am not the only UK journalist this letter has been sent to.— Maxim Tucker (@MaxRTucker) December 9, 2016
Earlier in December, a fugitive Ukrainian MP and a former close ally of Poroshenko, Aleksandr Onishchenko claimed that the Ukrainian leader had been deeply involved in corruption schemes, including buying the votes of lawmakers. Following the allegations, online Ukrainian newspaper strana.ua released an audio recording leaked by Onishchenko, which claimed to deliver proof of embezzlement.
Speaking to RT, Onishchenko said that most of the money from the International Monetary Fund to Ukraine, is being used by President Poroshenko and his allies to fuel the ongoing civil war in the east of the country. However, the president’s administration rebuffed the accusations, while security services accused the MP of treason.
Onishchenko, who now lives in exile in the UK, fled Ukraine in the summer after being charged with embezzling tens of millions of dollars. His revelations caused quite a stir in the Ukrainian press as well as in major international news outlets, like The Independent and The Times.
Despite Kiev denying all allegations, Tucker believes the threat of a legal case against journalists who reported the story might point towards a certain fear the Ukrainian leader might have of “free press” as well as insiders stepping forward.