By Oleg Sukhov. Published Oct. 12. Updated Oct. 12 at 7:07 pm
Valery Khoroshkovsky, who headed the Security Service of Ukraine under ex-President Viktor Yanukovych.
A former head of the Security Service of Ukraine under ex-president Viktor Yanukovych has returned to Ukraine and met with President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to an Oct. 10 investigation by the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty show Schemes.
Valeriy Khoroshkovsky is one of several Yanukovych allies who returned to Ukraine since Zelensky was elected president. The security official turned businessman is alleged to exert influence over Zelensky and may have longstanding ties with Russia, according to Schemes journalists.
Khoroshkovsky, who departed Ukraine in 2012, has visited the country six times in his private jet since Zelensky took office, Schemes reported, citing data from the planefinder.net aircraft monitoring site. This means he visited Ukraine more times since April than during the entire tenure of ex-President Petro Poroshenko.
Khoroshkovsky told reporters that his visits are related to his business interests in the country.
The program filmed Khoroshkovsky arriving at Kyiv’s Zhulyany Airport from London on Sept. 30. Schemes journalists also filmed Khoroshkovsky’s car visiting the Presidential Office in Kyiv on Oct. 1 and Oct. 9.
“I have met with Mr. Khoroshkovsky (at the Presidential Office) on Bankova Street,” Zelensky told Schemes during a news conference on Oct. 10. “He had a very serious issue, and we discussed this issue tête-à-tête.”
Zelensky said that he could not currently disclose the issue but journalists would find out about it when it “yields results.”
The president also denied reports of Khoroshkovsky’s influence over his administration and disavowed any intentions to give him any government jobs.
Khoroshkovsky declined to tell Schemes what he had discussed with Zelensky. He added that he had been visiting Ukraine regularly and has business interests here.
Khoroshkovsky was the head of the Security Service of Ukraine in 2010 to 2012 as well as serving as finance minister and deputy prime minister in 2012. He had also held various other top government jobs under presidents Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko.
Khoroshkovsky has also owned numerous businesses in Ukraine.
Zelensky’s Kvartal 95 aired on the Inter channel, which was owned by Khoroshkovsky, from 2005 to 2012. Zelensky was also the channel’s general producer.
Ties with Russia
Schemes reported that Khoroshkovsky could be interested in acquiring Russian banking assets in Ukraine, which have to be sold to non-Russian entities under a law passed by the Verkhovna Rada. Khoroshkovsky denied influencing the Ukrainian branches of Russian banks.
Khoroshkovsky flew to Kyiv with Yaroslav Porokhnyak, an aide to the CEO of Russian state bank Sberbank’s Ukrainian branch on Sept. 30. According to Schemes, Ukrainian media speculated that Khoroshkovsky was seeking to buy the branch.
Porokhnyak used to work at several firms owned by Khoroshkovsky and once co-owned Zelensky’s Kvartal 95.
On Sept. 29, Khoroshkovsky flew to London from Kyiv with Porokhnyak and Oleksandr Lukanov, the president of the Ukrainian branch of Russia’s Alfa Bank.
Schemes reported that Khoroshkovsky has had ties to Russia for many years. His plane has visited Moscow 16 times over the past three years. He has also lived in Russia and served as the executive director and president of Russian steel producer Evraz Group in 2004 to 2005.
Other returning Yanukovych-era officials
Khoroshkovsky is in good company. A number of Yanukovych linked figures have returned to Ukraine or re-entered the government.
Yanukovych’s former deputy chief of staff Andriy Portnov returned to Ukraine on May 19 — after Zelensky’s victory in the April 21 presidential election. Zelensky’s Chief of Staff Andriy Bohdan used to be an aide to Portnov and has called Portnov his friend.
Meanwhile, Renat Kuzmin, a fugitive deputy of Yanukovych’s Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka, was elected to the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, on July 21 and returned to Ukraine.
Yanukovych’s Health Minister, Raisa Bogatyryova, returned to Ukraine on Aug. 27 after a court ordered prosecutors to close a corruption case against her. However, prosecutors had not closed the case by that date and arrested her. She has since been released on bail.
(C) KIYV POST 2019