U.S. Markets closed

Ukraine’s Ex-President Says Biden Never Asked to Close Cases

Stephanie Baker and Daryna Krasnolutska

(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine’s recently departed president, Petro Poroshenko, says that Joe Biden never asked him to open or close any criminal cases, adding to the list of Ukrainian officials saying they saw him do nothing improper involving his son.

Speaking out to the news media for the first time on the matter, Poroshenko rebutted claims made by President Donald Trump and his allies that Biden, as U.S. vice president, sought the ouster of the country’s prosecutor general in 2016 to stop an investigation of a natural gas company where Hunter Biden sat on the board.

“The former vice president, at least in personal conversations, didn’t raise any requests to open or close any concrete cases,” Poroshenko said in a statement to Bloomberg News in response to questions. Poroshenko made similar comments to CNN and the Los Angeles Times in recent days.

Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, have been pushing, without evidence, an accusation that Biden was abusing his role as the Obama administration’s point person on Ukraine to help his son. Trump’s telephone conversation with Poroshenko’s successor, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which he pressed Ukraine to investigate, is at the heart of a House impeachment inquiry.

Other current and former Ukrainian officials have also said they saw no substance to the accusations against Biden.

In his statement, Poroshenko said Viktor Shokin resigned as prosecutor general in 2016 after what he called “massive campaigns” by activists, members of parliament and the media seeking his removal. He noted that more than two-thirds of Parliament members voted in favor of Shokin’s resignation. Poroshenko accepted it, he said, “to restore public confidence and trust” in the prosecutor general’s office and as a way to “move the country forward.”

Poroshenko also said that Ukraine didn’t interfere in the 2016 U.S. election, rejecting an argument advanced by Trump and Giuliani as they’ve sought to undermine the origins of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference. He said he’d always sought to enlist “bipartisan support” for Ukraine in the U.S.

“It’s very important to secure such support at this moment,” Poroshenko said. “It should not be harmed as the result of internal processes in the U.S. and should not depend on the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Stephanie Baker in London at stebaker@bloomberg.net;Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev at dkrasnolutsk@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeffrey D Grocott at jgrocott2@bloomberg.net, David S. Joachim

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.