Viktor Shokin

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Viktor Shokin
Viktor Shokin.jpg
13th Prosecutor General of Ukraine
In office
10 February 2015 – 29 March 2016
PresidentPetro Poroshenko
Preceded byVitaly Yarema
Succeeded byYuriy Lutsenko[1]
Personal details
Born
Viktor Mykolayovych Shokin

(1952-11-04) 4 November 1952 (age 66)
Kiev
Political partyunaffiliated

Viktor Mykolayovych Shokin (Ukrainian: Віктор Миколайович Шокін) is a former Prosecutor General of Ukraine.

Biography[edit]

Shokin was born 4 November 1952 in Kiev.[2] After graduating from the Kharkiv Law Institute (today Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University) in 1980, Shokin worked for the Prosecutor General Office as investigator until 2001. In an interview with Ukrayinska Pravda he stated that he was forced to retire in 2001 after refusing to take on the case against Yulia Tymoshenko.[3]

Shokin was appointed Prosecutor General of Ukraine on 10 February 2015, replacing Vitaly Yarema.[4] He was a controversial appointee due to his perceived role in blocking prosecutions against those accused of shooting demonstrators in the 2014 Ukrainian revolution.[5] As Prosecutor General, he was accused of blocking major cases against allies and influential figures and hindering the fight against corruption in Ukraine.[6]

Various street protests demanding Shokin's resignation were held.[7][8][9] On 2 November 2015, there was an assassination attempt against him when an unidentified sniper fired three shots into his office, but was foiled by the bulletproof glass window.[10] In response to a query from Ukrainian News Agency in late 2019, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) acknowledged that it is continuing to investigate the attempted assassination of Shokin.[11] In March 2016 his office carried out a raid against one of Ukraine's leading anti-corruption groups, the Anti-Corruption Action Center (AntAC), claiming that it had misappropriated aid money.[9] AntAC was a frequent critic of the Prosecutor General's Office under Shokin.[12] In one notorious case, two of Shokin's prosecutors were caught with stashes of diamonds, cash and valuables in their homes, likely indicating bribery. Prosecutors from another department of Shokin's office were fired or reassigned when they attempted to bring a prosecution against the so-called "diamond prosecutors".[13]

Through 2015 and early 2016, domestic and international pressure (including from the IMF, the EU, and the EBRD) built for Shokin to be removed from office. The Obama administration withheld $1 billion in loan guarantees to pressure the Ukrainian government to remove Shokin from office.[14][15][16] His defenders nonetheless argued that he played an important role "balancing competing political interests".[17] His Deputy Prosecutor, Vitaly Kasko, announced his resignation on 15 February 2016 denouncing the corruption and lawlessness of the Prosecutor's office.[18]

On 16 February 2016, Shokin submitted a letter of resignation,[19] although the next day an official of the prosecution office stated, "As far as I know he has taken a paid leave".[20] On 19 February 2016 presidential press secretary Sviatoslav Tsegolko wrote on Twitter that the presidential administration had received an official letter of resignation from Shokin.[21] On 16 March 2016 an official of the prosecution office stated that Shokin had resumed his work.[4] On 28 March, protesters called for Shokin's firing, after his office was authorized by a Kiev court to investigate AntAC.[9][22] Shokin was formally dismissed in a parliamentary vote on 29 March 2016.[23] The European Union praised Shokin's dismissal due to a "lack of tangible results" of his office's investigations, and also because people in Shokin's office were themselves being investigated.[6] Following his dismissal Shokin went into retirement.[24]

Burisma holdings and the Biden family[edit]

Since 2012, the Ukrainian prosecutor general had been investigating Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky, owner of the natural gas company Burisma Holdings, over allegations of money laundering, tax evasion, and corruption.[25] In 2014, then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, joined the board of directors of Burisma Holdings.[26] In 2015, Shokin became the prosecutor general, inheriting the investigation. The Obama administration and other governments and non-governmental organizations soon became concerned that Shokin was not adequately pursuing corruption in Ukraine, was protecting the political elite, and was regarded as "an obstacle to anti-corruption efforts".[16] Among other issues, he was slow-walking the investigation into Zlochevsky and Burisma – to the extent that Obama officials were considering launching their own criminal investigation into the company for possible money laundering.[25]

While visiting Kiev in December 2015, Joe Biden threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that if he did not fire Shokin, that the US would hold back its $1 billion in loan guarantees. In a later recollection, Biden said, "I looked at them and said, 'I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money.' [...] He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time."[27][28] Shokin was dismissed by Parliament in late March 2016.

In a sworn affidavit dated 4 September 2019 for a European court, Shokin testified that "On several occasions President Poroshenko asked me to have a look at the criminal case against Burisma and consider the possibility of winding down the investigative actions in respect of this company, but I refused to close this investigation."[29] Shokin wrote the affidavit in support of Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash.[30] John Herbst, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine during the George W. Bush administration, said that Shokin's support of Firtash, who had been arrested for bribery in 2014, undercuts Shokin's claims to be motivated by transparency.[31][32] "Firtash is arguably the most odious, or one of the most odious oligarchs in Ukraine," according to Herbst.[31]

Shokin claimed in May 2019 that he had been investigating Burisma Holdings.[13][33][34] However, Vitaly Kasko, who had been Shokin's deputy overseeing international cooperation before resigning in February 2016 citing corruption in the office, provided documents to Bloomberg News indicating that under Shokin, the investigation into Burisma had been dormant.[35][36] Also, the investigation into Burisma only pertained to events happening before Hunter Biden joined the company.[37]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lutsenko appointed prosecutor general in Ukraine". Ukrainian Independent Information Agency. Kiev, Ukraine: 1+1 Media Group. 12 May 2016. Archived from the original on 27 September 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Шокин Виктор: Экс-генпрокурор Украины Виктор" [Viktor Shokin: Ex-Attorney General of Ukraine]. LIGA.net (in Russian). Kiev, Ukraine: Ligamedia. 4 April 2016 [First published 13 February 2015]. Archived from the original on 28 August 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  3. ^ Nayyem, Mustafa; Leshchenko, Serhiy (14 December 2009). "Віктор Шокін: Піскун боїться йти зі мною на очну ставку" [Viktor Shokin: Piskun is afraid to go on confrontation with me]. Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 4 May 2017. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  4. ^ a b "PGO Shokin back after long leave". Ukrainian Independent Information Agency. Kiev, Ukraine: 1+1 Media Group. 16 March 2016. Archived from the original on 28 September 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Stop the appointment of Shokin". Open Dialogue Foundation. Brussels, Belgium; Warsaw, Poland. 13 February 2015. Archived from the original on 1 October 2019. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  6. ^ a b McLaughlin, Daniel (29 March 2016). "EU hails sacking of Ukraine's prosecutor Viktor Shokin". The Irish Times. Dublin, Republic of Ireland: The Irish Times Trust. ISSN 1393-3515. Archived from the original on 3 October 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  7. ^ "Auto-Maidan protesters arrived at Poroshenko's residence, demanding Shokin's resignation (photos)". Ukrainian Independent Information Agency. Kiev, Ukraine: 1+1 Media Group. 31 October 2015. Archived from the original on 8 April 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  8. ^ Chernichkin, Kostyantyn; Sukhov, Oleg (25 March 2016). "Demonstrators protest Shokin's firing of anti-corruption prosecutors". Kyiv Post. Kiev, Ukraine: Businessgroup LLC. ISSN 1563-6429. Archived from the original on 21 February 2017. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  9. ^ a b c "Ukrainian Protesters Demand Dismissal Of Prosecutor-General". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Prague, Czech Republic: U.S. Agency for Global Media. 28 March 2016. Archived from the original on 1 October 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  10. ^ "Ukraine prosecutor Viktor Shokin 'targeted by sniper'". BBC News. London: BBC. 3 November 2016. Archived from the original on 11 March 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  11. ^ "SBU Continues Investigating Case Upon Attempted Assassination Of Ex-Prosecutor General Shokin". Kiev, Ukraine: Inter Media Group Ltd. Ukrainian News Agency. 1 October 2019. Archived from the original on 6 October 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  12. ^ Cohen, Josh (6 May 2016). "No reforms, no aid for Ukraine". Berlin: European Council on Foreign Relations. Archived from the original on 2 October 2019. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  13. ^ a b Kramer, Andrew E. (29 March 2016). "Ukraine Ousts Viktor Shokin, Top Prosecutor, and Political Stability Hangs in the Balance". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 3 October 2019. Retrieved 27 September 2019. "A version of this article appears in print on March 29, 2016, Section A, Page 3 of the New York edition with the headline: Risking Political Stability, Ukraine Ousts Top Prosecutor ."
  14. ^ Yaffa, Joshua (29 August 2016). "Reforming Ukraine After the Revolutions". Letter from Kiev. The New Yorker. New York City: Condé Nast. ISSN 0028-792X. Archived from the original on 25 September 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019. "This article appears in the print edition of the September 5, 2016, issue, with the headline 'After the Revolutions.'"
  15. ^ Clemons, Steve (26 August 2016). "The Geopolitical Therapist". The Atlantic. Washington, D.C.: Emerson Collective. ISSN 2151-9463. Archived from the original on 22 July 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  16. ^ a b Cullison, Alan (22 September 2019). "Bidens in Ukraine: An Explainer". The Wall Street Journal. New York City: Dow Jones & Company. ISSN 0099-9660. Archived from the original on 3 October 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019. Messrs. Trump and Giuliani have suggested that Joe Biden pushed for the firing of Ukraine's general prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, in March 2016 to stop an investigation into Burisma. In Ukraine, government officials and anticorruption advocates say that is a misrepresentation. ... Mr. Shokin had dragged his feet into those investigations, Western diplomats said, and effectively squashed one in London by failing to cooperate with U.K. authorities. ... In a speech in 2015, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, called the Ukrainian prosecutor 'an obstacle' to anticorruption efforts...
  17. ^ "Prosecutor General ousted for corruption". Star Tribune. Minneapolis, MN: Michael J. Klingensmith. 30 March 2016. p. A6. ISSN 0895-2825. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  18. ^ "Ex-prosecutor Kasko says Shokin gave instructions coming from MP Kononenko". Ukrainian Independent Information Agency. Kiev, Ukraine: 1+1 Media Group. 26 February 2016. Archived from the original on 2 October 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  19. ^ MacDonald, Euan; Sukhov, Oleg (16 February 2016). "Prosecutor General Shokin resigns (UPDATED)". Kyiv Post. Kiev, Ukraine: Businessgroup LLC. ISSN 1563-6429. Archived from the original on 21 September 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  20. ^ "Chief prosecutor Shokin on leave – PGO". Interfax-Ukraine. Kiev, Ukraine: Interfax. 17 February 2016. Archived from the original on 1 October 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  21. ^ "Poroshenko's Office Announces Receipt Of Shokin Resignation". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Prague, Czech Republic: U.S. Agency for Global Media. 19 February 2016. Archived from the original on 7 December 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  22. ^ "Anti-Corruption Action Center prepares statement about PGO offenses". Kyiv Post. Kiev, Ukraine: Businessgroup LLC. Interfax-Ukraine. 30 March 2016. ISSN 1563-6429. Archived from the original on 17 June 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  23. ^ "Rada agrees to dismiss Ukrainian Prosecutor General Shokin". Interfax-Ukraine. Kiev, Ukraine: Interfax. 29 March 2016. Archived from the original on 1 October 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  24. ^ "Шокін радий і зібрався на пенсію" [Shokin is happy and is about to retire]. Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian). 29 March 2016. Archived from the original on 2 June 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  25. ^ a b Vogel, Kenneth P. (22 September 2019). "Trump, Biden and Ukraine: Sorting Out the Accusations". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 3 October 2019. Retrieved 23 September 2019. "A version of this article appears in print on Sept. 22, 2019, Section A, Page 19 of the New York edition with the headline: Trump Is Pointing Fingers, but Here’s the Rundown on Biden and Son."
  26. ^ Seddon, Max (13 May 2014). "Biden's Son, Polish Ex-President Quietly Sign On To Ukrainian Gas Company". BuzzFeed News. New York City: BuzzFeed. Archived from the original on 24 September 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  27. ^ Kalmbacher, Colin (2 April 2019). "Biden Reportedly 'Bragged' About the Firing of a Prosecutor Who Was Investigating His Son's Firm". LawandCrime.com. Dan Abrams. Archived from the original on 6 April 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  28. ^ Ballhaus, Rebecca (21 September 2019). "Timeline of Trump-Ukraine-Bidens Story". The Wall Street Journal. New York City: Dow Jones & Company. ISSN 0099-9660. Archived from the original on 30 September 2019. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  29. ^ Singman, Brooke (3 October 2019). "Documents heighten scrutiny on Biden-Ukraine dealings, indicate Hunter may have made 'millions'". Fox News. New York City: Fox Corporation. Archived from the original on 4 October 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  30. ^ Herbst, John E. (30 September 2019). "Why Ukraine Is Strategically Important To America's Foreign Policy". NPR (Interview). Interviewed by Noel King. Washington, D.C.: National Public Radio, Inc. Archived from the original on 4 October 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  31. ^ a b Mackinnon, Amy (3 October 2019). "Giuliani's Claims Spread to Another Ukraine Corruption Case". Foreign Policy. Washington, D.C.: The FP Group. ISSN 0015-7228. Archived from the original on 4 October 2019. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  32. ^ Schreckinger, Ben (3 October 2019). "Ukraine scandal ropes in the usual suspects". Politico Europe. Arlington County, Virginia: Capitol News Company. ISSN 2406-5250. Archived from the original on 4 October 2019. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  33. ^ Vogel, Kenneth P.; Mendel, Iuliia (1 May 2019). "Biden Faces Conflict of Interest Questions That Are Being Promoted by Trump and Allies". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 4 October 2019. Retrieved 5 May 2019. "A version of this article appears in print on May 1, 2019, Section A, Page 1 of the New York edition with the headline: For Biden, a Ukraine Matter That Won’t Go Away."
  34. ^ "Biden brought his people in Ukraine's Prosecutor General's office to cover his son's business, - Shokin". 112 Ukraine. Taras Kozak. 8 May 2019. Archived from the original on 21 September 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  35. ^ Baker, Stephanie; Krasnolutska, Daryna (7 May 2019) [First published 6 May 2019]. "Timeline in Ukraine Probe Casts Doubt on Giuliani's Biden Claim". Bloomberg News. New York City: Bloomberg L.P. Archived from the original on 5 October 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  36. ^ Jacobson, Louis (7 May 2019). "Fact Checking: Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and Ukraine". PolitiFact. St. Petersburg, Florida: Poynter Institute. Archived from the original on 4 October 2019. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  37. ^ Ivanova, Polina; Polityuk, Pavel (27 September 2019). "Ukraine agency says allegations against Burisma cover period before Biden joined". London: Thomson Reuters. Reuters. Archived from the original on 3 October 2019. Retrieved 1 October 2019.

External links[edit]