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11 Jan, 2024 12:44

Ex-Ukrainian MP calls for corruption charges in Biden impeachment probe

Andrey Derkach claims US officials are shielding graft in his country 
Ex-Ukrainian MP calls for corruption charges in Biden impeachment probe

The Republican-led effort to impeach US President Joe Biden should include an indictment for facilitating corruption in Kiev, former Ukrainian MP Andrey Derkach said in an interview published on Wednesday. 

The ongoing impeachment inquiry against Biden, dismissed by US Democrats as a partisan publicity stunt, is looking into the president’s potential involvement in influence peddling in Ukraine by his son, Hunter. It is also investigating possible interference in the 2020 US presidential election, during which reporting about Biden Jr.’s laptop was suppressed by partisan American media and tech giants. 

Former Ukrainian MP Derkach is a controversial figure who worked with Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump's lawyer, who investigated Biden’s ties with Ukraine. Speaking to Italian-US journalist Simona Mangiante in the Belarusian capital Minsk, Derkach claimed there was substantial evidence of the Biden family enriching itself in Ukraine, which is allegedly being ignored by US authorities. 

“What’s important to me in the congressional investigation is not to bring Biden in for influence peddling. It is important for me that the final document of the Congress says that the money stolen from my fellow Ukrainians was taken out of Ukraine… and given to… Biden,” he said. 

As vice president, Joe Biden was the leading official on Ukraine in Barack Obama's administration. A widely publicized example of Biden’s influence on Kiev came in 2016, when he pressured the country into sacking its prosecutor general.

At the time, Viktor Shokin was investigating Burisma, a gas firm that listed the then-vice president's son Hunter Biden on its board. Critics have accused Joe Biden of abusing his position to cover for his son, though the US president has claimed he was merely removing a corrupt official from power.

Derkach, who has been accused by the US and Ukraine of working for Russia, lives in exile and says he is focused on anti-corruption advocacy. Anyone who wants to expose alleged Ukraine-linked criminality in the Biden family is routinely dismissed by American officials as agents of Moscow, Derkach argues.

In his interview with Mangiante, the former lawmaker implied that US influence on Ukraine allowed Joe Biden ensure that anyone involved in the alleged corruption schemes was let off the hook. He cited the example of Burisma head Nikolay Zlochevsky, who in 2020 was accused of sending $6 million in cash to people investigating him in exchange for closing the case. 

Despite being caught red-handed, neither Zlochevsky nor his middlemen were duly punished, Derkach said. The businessman effectively received a slap on the wrist last year in the form of a $1,800 fine, he pointed out.

Zlochevsky has also donated tens of millions of dollars to Kiev’s war effort against Russia, which some Ukrainian media have speculated impacted the outcome of the case. 

According to Derkach, some of the money went to the GUR, Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, and was presumably used to fund its operations.

The agency’s leadership makes “no secret of the fact that they carry out terrorist acts and political assassinations for extra-budgetary cash. Once again: Biden’s partners in the corruption business in Ukraine finance terrorist acts, thus avoiding responsibility for corruption in Ukraine,” the former official alleged.

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