Ukrainian Ex-President Poroshenko Accused of Treason
(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine’s former President Petro Poroshenko is suspected of state treason for purchasing coal from war-torn regions controlled by Russian-backed fighters in the nation’s east, according to law enforcement.
A prosecutor signed a notice of suspicion for Poroshenko, who is now traveling abroad, for spending state money to buy coal from Kremlin-backed separatists, making Ukraine’s economy dependent on Russia and undermining efforts to diversify it. Poroshenko may face as long as 15 years in prison and the possible confiscation of assets, the State Bureau of Investigation said Monday in a website statement.
Poroshenko’s lawyers denies any wrongdoing and accused President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of orchestrating a “politically motivated” attack. Zelenskiy beat Poroshenko in a landslide victory in 2019. Poroshenko is now a leader of an opposition party in the 450-seat legislature.
The State Bureau of Investigation summoned Poroshenko for questioning on Dec. 23. His allies said he is expected back in Ukraine after the New Year and Orthodox Christmas holidays.
Earlier this year prosecutors said they suspect Kremlin-friendly politician and businessman Viktor Medvedchuk of treason and terrorist-financing for helping to broker state coal purchases from the eastern regions in 2014 and 2015. At the time, they also mentioned Poroshenko, without giving more details.
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