‘I have no doubt that there were illegal activities engaged in by Burisma,’ Shokin tells Fox News
In an exclusive interview with Fox News, former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin detailed the involvement he believed President Biden, the then-vice president, played in his firing and how it involved Hunter Biden’s business dealings.
During the interview with Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade, Shokin said he was ousted in 2016 because he was investigating Burisma, the Ukrainian natural gas company where Hunter Biden served on the board. Shokin also claimed that Joe and Hunter Biden accepted bribes in the case, and that the then-vice president ultimately hurt America’s reputation and created the groundwork for Russia to invade Ukraine.”I have said repeatedly in my previous interviews that Poroshenko fired me at the insistence of the then Vice President Biden because I was investigating Burisma,”
Shokin told Fox News in the interview which aired Saturday evening.”You understood me correctly, this is how it was,” he added after a follow-up question from Kilmeade about Biden’s involvement. “There were no complaints whatsoever and no problems with how I was performing at my job. But because pressure was repeatedly put on [then-Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko, that is what ended up in him firing me.”
Shokin did not provide additional evidence of his claim that the Bidens accepted bribes or elaborate on the allegation. In March 2016, Poroshenko ousted Shokin, who was appointed one year earlier, after facing pressure from the U.S. government. The international community, led by the U.S. and then-Vice President Biden who led U.S.-Ukraine policy, believed Shokin was allowing corruption to fester in the nation’s government and his own office.
In December 2015, Biden traveled to Kyiv, Ukraine, where he demanded Poroshenko root out corruption and fire Shokin, threatening to withhold a key U.S. aid package. During a speech delivered with the country’s leaders present, Biden said the Office of the General Prosecutor “desperately needs reform” and warned about the dangers posed by corruption in the government.
Biden urged Ukrainian president to fire Shokin
A year after leaving the White House, Biden recounted his closed-door conversations with Poroshenko during the 2015 trip. He explained how he told Ukrainian officials the U.S. would withhold up to $1 billion in aid money earmarked for their country if Shokin remained in his position.
“I said, ‘Nah, I’m not going to – we’re not going to give you the billion dollars.’ They said, ‘You have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said –.’ I said, ‘Call him,’” Biden recounted during a January 2018 event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.
“I said, ‘I’m telling you, you’re not getting the $1 billion.’””I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here,'” Biden continued. “I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”
Republican lawmakers and Shokin himself, however, have pointed to Shokin’s investigation of Burisma and its owner Mykola Zlochevsky at the time of his ouster. In February 2016, one month before Shokin was fired, his office filed a legal petition to seize Zlochevsky’s property, including four homes, two pieces of property and a Rolls-Royce sports car, the Kyiv Post reported at the time.The investigation took place while Hunter Biden served on Burisma’s board of directors.
Hunter joined the firm in 2014 and departed in 2019 after his term on its board expired. In a statement to Fox News, the White House pointed to indications that Shokin was fired because he had been too soft on corruption. “For years, these false claims have been debunked, and no matter how much air time Fox gives them, they will remain false,”
White House spokesperson Ian Sams told Fox News. “Fox is giving a platform for these lies to a former Ukrainian prosecutor general whose office his own deputy called ‘a hotbed of corruption,’ drawing demands for reform not only from then-Vice President Biden but also from U.S. diplomats, international partners, and Republican senators like Ron Johnson.”
The White House also stated Shokin’s office had not been investigating Burisma or Hunter at the time of his ouster in March 2016, and it pointed to three reports published within weeks of each other in 2019 by The Washington Post, Associated Press and New York Times stating Shokin’s office wasn’t investigating Burisma.
Shokin: Burisma merited ‘special attention’
“The reason I oversaw the Burisma case was because I was the prosecutor general. Burisma was an ordinary case. There wasn’t anything particularly different about it,” Shokin told Fox News.
“The reason that I was handling it was because it deserved a special mention,” Shokin continued. “It was on a list of cases to merit special attention because Hunter Biden was involved with Burisma and of course, his father, the vice president, Biden at the time oversaw Ukraine affairs for the White House. This is why.”
Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin holds a press conference on Nov. 2, 2015, months before he was ousted over allegations of corruption. (GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images)
He added that he had “no doubt” Burisma was engaged in illegal activities and stated it would take him “half a day” to explain them all. Among the allegations, he said Burisma illegally produced, sold and utilized natural gas supplies.”I have no doubt that there were illegal activities engaged in by Burisma,” Shokin said. “As a matter of fact, the criminal case had been started before me.” “It continued to expand and Zlochevsky, who at the time held the post of minister and was the founder and CEO of Burisma, started bringing in people who could provide protection for him,” he said.
“Hunter Biden was among them and the corruption network expanded as a result. So, yes, to answer your question, there was no doubt in my mind that Burisma was engaged in illegal activities.”
Hunter Biden ‘called D.C.’
Echoing Shokin’s claim that Hunter Biden was hired solely to protect Burisma by leveraging his father’s role in the White House, Hunter’s former business partner Devon Archer, who also served on Burisma’s board, confirmed in a closed-door interview in July that company leaders turned to Hunter for help amid pressure from Shokin’s office and other entities.
Archer said Hunter “called D.C.” to help get Shokin fired.”When Burisma’s owner was facing pressure from the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating the company for corruption, Archer testified that Burisma executives asked Hunter to ‘call D.C.’ after a Burisma board meeting in Dubai,” House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., said after Archer’s testimony.
Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., said he believes Hunter Biden leveraged his father’s position as vice president to help Burisma. (Mandel NGAN/AFP, Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Fox News Digital recently reported that, on Nov. 2, 2015, Burisma executive Vadym Pozharski emailed Hunter Biden, Archer and fellow Hunter associate Eric Schwerin about a “revised proposal, contract and initial invoice for Burisma Holdings,” from lobbying firm Blue Star Strategies.
Hunter reportedly connected Burisma with Blue Star Strategies to help the energy firm fight corruption charges levied against Zlochevsky, the company’s owner.Pozharski emphasized in his email that the “ultimate purpose” of the agreement with Blue Star Strategies was to shut down “any cases/pursuits against Nikolay in Ukraine,” referring to Zlochevsky, who also went by Nikolay.
“The scope of work should also include organization of a visit of a number of widely recognized and influential current and/or former US policy-makers to Ukraine in November aiming to conduct meetings with and bring positive signal/message and support on Nikolay’s issue to the Ukrainian top officials above with the ultimate purpose to close down for any cases/pursuits against Nikolay in Ukraine,”
Pozharskyi continued.Biden made the infamous December 2015 trip to Ukraine a month after the Pozharski email and would host a holiday party at his residence days after he returned that included Hunter and multiple Burisma-linked associates.
Shokin accuses Bidens of taking bribes
Shokin added in the interview Saturday that if he had been allowed to continue his investigation, he would have uncovered a scheme involving the Bidens and Archer. He also said he believed both Joe and Hunter Biden took bribes in the case.
“Had I continued to oversee the Burisma investigation, we would have found the facts about the corrupt activities that they were engaging in,” Shokin said. “That included both Hunter Biden and Devon Archer and others.”
“I do not want to deal in unproven facts, but my firm personal conviction is that, yes, this was the case. They were being bribed,” the former prosecutor general added. “And the fact that Joe Biden gave away $1 billion in U.S. money in exchange for my dismissal, my firing isn’t that alone A case of corruption?”
Hunter’s former business partner Devon Archer, who also served on Burisma’s board, testified in a closed-door House Oversight Committee hearing in July that, amid pressure from Shokin’s office and other entities investigating Burisma, company leaders turned to Hunter for help.
Archer said Hunter “called D.C.” to help get Shokin fired. (Fox News)After Shokin’s ouster, The New York Times reported that Shokin had been criticized in Ukraine for not prosecuting officials, businessmen and lawmakers for corruption while Viktor Yanukovych was president.
The U.S. government and International Monetary Fund had believed in 2016 that Shokin wasn’t doing enough to fight corruption, which ran rampant throughout Ukraine.Both former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Bridget Brink testified during a Senate hearing in 2020 that Shokin’s decision not to pursue a Burisma investigation or root out corruption elsewhere were reasons for his firing.
Hunter Biden, left, and Mykola Zlochevsky, right (Getty Images)”It was our conclusion by then that, in fact, the dismissal of Prosecutor Shokin would be counter to Burisma’s interests, because not only was he not pursuing the Burisma case, he was responsible for protecting those who had helped get the case dismissed,” Nuland said.
However, Shokin pushed back when asked about the media reports and claims made about his alleged corruption, saying there hasn’t ever been an example given. He added he doesn’t have enough money to sue news outlets for defamation.
“I would appreciate if any of these highly respectable publications could come up with a single instance or a single example of my personal corruption or any offense whatsoever allegedly committed by me,” Shokin told Fox News. “Since I was fired, nobody, including Joe Biden, has cited or mentioned or provided any examples of my corruption or any offense allegedly committed by me.”Video“I would gladly [sue for defamation],”
Shokin continued. “But suing somebody costs money and I simply don’t have the money to do that because I am a retiree and my monthly pension constitutes the equivalent of $800.”And Shokin concluded saying that Biden has harmed America’s reputation abroad through his actions in Ukraine.
“There is no doubt that his actions have damaged the US reputation in Ukraine. It is public knowledge,” he said. “Everybody knows that it was because of Joe Biden’s actions that Russia was able to claim Crimea without firing a single shot, which of course eventually led to a full scale war that is currently under way.”
Shokin did not elaborate on how Biden’s actions contributed to Russia’s rapid takeover of Crimea in 2014. According to reports about the White House’s response to the invasion, Biden urged then-President Obama to send lethal assistance to Ukraine, but was overruled.
The White House noted that Shokin took office after Russia seized Crimea.Shokin told Fox that his book addresses the role Biden has played in Ukraine in his book.”But, yes, the damage has been done. Definitely,” Shokin concluded. “I have long been concerned about my personal safety and security. I’ve already died technically, twice as I was poisoned with Mercury.”