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Ukrainian president’s lawyers confirm reports on his offshore companies

Avellum law firm, a legal adviser of the Ukrainian president, said the offshore companies of Petro Poroshenko mentioned in the so-called Panama Papers were set up to prepare Roshen Company for sale and move it into blind trust.

“Using a company with foreign jurisdiction was the only possible way to transfer assets under management of an authoritative international trust company. Companies with foreign jurisdiction are necessary and used to transfer them into blind trust,” the law firm says. “Setting up a foreign company did not pursue tax evasion by Roshen Group in Ukraine. The company continues paying taxes under Ukrainian laws,” Poroshenko’s lawyers say.

EADaily reported earlier that the Ukrainian president declared his incomes for 2015 last week. The president published more than 62-million-hryvnias incomes (nearly $2.5 million) amid his salary of 121,054 hryvnias (nearly $4.800). The declaration says nothing about Poroshenko’s offshore assets.

In this light, Ukrainian media demonstrated a film called “Offshore of the State Level” based on Panama Papers - the documents held by the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca. Panama Papers place politicians under a microscope and the Ukrainian president is one of them.

The film consists of three cycles. The first one called “A Double Life of the President” tells that Poroshenko failed to transfer his assets into a trust like he had stated before. At the same time, he started restructuring his assets in Roshen through opening of three offshore companies. Poroshenko’s legal advisers justify the offshore pyramid saying this “meets the market practices in Ukraine for the companies that are set to sale to strategic investors.”

“In real life, the president set up a company in the Virgin Islands for his Roshen confectionery business to evade taxes in Ukraine. Moving the company into blind trust would conceal the entire process. It was anticipated that no one would know whether they sell ‘Roshen’ from Ukraine or Virgin Island,” the film tells.

Under Article 111 of the Ukrainian Constitution, the Supreme Rada can impeach the president of Ukraine in case of high treason or other crime. The parliamentary majority can initiate impeachment proceedings. Oleh Lyashko, the leader of the Radical Party of Ukraine, called for impeachment proceedings and demanded an extraordinary meeting of the Supreme Rada. The parliamentary factions of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc and Samopomich parties announced a sooner overall crisis in Ukraine in view of the scandal.

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