Guest post by German MP Petr Bystron
The end of 2023 was a time of bad news and dim political prospects for US President Joe Biden. Declining approval ratings in key states and the House of Representatives’ increasingly persistent attempts to put Biden through impeachment proceedings have him focused on defending himself against a host of potential charges of influence peddling and corruption.
A situational partner for Biden has been his dependent Ukrainian government, which has recently made several important decisions to shield Biden from potential investigations. On the one hand, the court released all the defendants involved in the high-profile case of a $6 million cash bribe to close cases against the Burisma company and its owner, the odious Mykola Zlochevsky. It was at Burisma that Biden’s son Hunter worked for 5 years.
On the other hand, Ukraine has toughened the prosecution of those who publicized evidence of corrupt practices of Biden and his son. Ukrainian MP Andriy Derkach, who was the first to present evidence of Biden’s corruption (including the famous “Derkach tapes” with conversations between Joe Biden and Petro Poroshenko), has disappeared from the public eye. His fate is still unknown, but in his home country he was stripped of his citizenship and the status of people’s deputy, and a number of criminal cases are being investigated against him.
Journalist and MP Oleksandr Dubinsky has been put in a pre-trial detention center. The reason was his participation in the press conference of Andriy Derkach about corruption in Burisma, despite it took place back in 2019.
The next object of attention from the Ukrainian security services may be prosecutor Kostyantyn Kulyk. Kulyk is a military prosecutor who served in the ATO zone for a long time. He became publicly known after the return to Ukraine of assets worth 1.5 billion dollars stolen by fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych.
Kulyk’s next high-profile case was the investigation of corruption in Burisma. Kulyk prepared the famous seven-page dossier, which claimed that Ukrainian prosecutors had sufficient evidence of corruption aimed at Joe Biden’s personal enrichment. In an interview with The Hill, Kostyantyn Kulyk claimed that he tried to hand over to the U.S. government evidence of gross misconduct by Democrats and U.S. diplomats. However, all evidence was blocked by the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, which later caused the firing of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
It was also Kulyk who first showed how the laundering of funds through Burisma took place. All cash was transferred from Ukraine under fake contracts and then settled in accounts in the Latvian “daughter” of the Ukrainian Privatbank (in particular, through Wirelogic Technology AS and Digitex Organization LLP). The amounts involved were around 10 million dollars monthly.
From Latvia, this money went to pay to Zlochevsky’s western lobbyists. In particular, Kulyk made public the evidence that 3.5 million dollars was received by Rosemont Seneca, a firm controlled by Hunter Biden. This evidence was later confirmed by financial monitoring in Cyprus and Latvia, as well as financial statements of Rosemont Seneca’s accounts at Morgan Stanley Bank.
In 2020, at a press conference organized by Andriy Derkach, Kulyk revealed new details about the $6 million bribe to close the Burisma case. As Kulik claimed, and as stated on the website of the international network of independent anti-corruption investigators OCCRP, the 6 million turned out to be the first part of a larger bribe that was supposed to be 50 million dollars.
Kulyk said that he officially, by report, as the head of a group of prosecutors, reported this to the Prosecutor General and initiated the operational actions in the SBU to fix the bribe by creating/using a controlled firm to which the second part of the money should have been transferred. It’s noteworthy that according to Kulyk’s information, the communicator from Zlochevsky was his personal lawyer and top manager of Burisma, Andriy Kicha. “But then there was a change in the Prosecutor General’s Office: Yuri Lutsenko was replaced by Ruslan Ryaboshapka. The fixing of the 50-million bribe stopped, and Ryaboshapka said the case of Burisma does not exist at all,” – noted Kulyk. Also, according to him, “initially, Biden’s companies appeared in Burisma’s case, but in the version of the indictment, issued in the case of a 6-million dollars bribe, these companies disappeared.”
To prove his point, Kulyk managed to obtain valuable witness testimony. He personally questioned two Latvian citizens who serviced the Wirelogic Technology and Digitex Organization proxy companies. One of them serviced a separate Burisma account, used only by Zlochevsky. The witness confirmed that he made money transfers on behalf of Burisma’s owner to Hunter Biden’s companies and presented his laptop, which had all the financial documentation for such transactions. What happened then with the laptop remains a mystery, but the case might be closed, just like all the other cases involving Biden and Burisma’s corruption.
Thus, Kostyantyn Kulyk’s testimony in court or on the floor of the House of Representatives could become a decisive factor for the investigation of Biden’s corruption schemes in Ukraine.