“Ukrainegate-2”: three questions on the Ukrainian interference in the U.S. presidential elections in 2020
Earlier we described in detail how Petro Poroshenko tried to influence the American elections in 2016 and as seriously he miscalculated throwing all capabilities on Hillary Clinton's support.
And the story gave the Ukrainian ex-president a chance to regain a rightful place in the ranks of close friends of the newly elected American president, and at the same time compete with Volodymyr Zelensky for defeat in the 2019 presidential race.
On March 17, Poroshenko made another philippic statement on Russia and Putin, warmly thanked Biden for tough words against the Russian president and also accused Zelensky of interfering in the U.S. elections in the interests of Donald Trump.
The ex-president talked about the notorious recordings of phone calls between Biden and Poroshenko, which were made public by the member of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Andrei Derkach at the height of the U.S. election campaign in the summer of 2020. It followed that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden pressured the Ukrainian president, demanding the Prosecutor-General Shokin dismissal under the threat of withdrawing U.S. consent to provide Ukraine with an IMF loan of $1 billion. This revelation confirmed numerous rumors about the corruption ties of the U.S. Democratic Party leaders in Ukraine, which have been circulating in the U.S. since 2019, and almost disrupted Biden's election campaign.
In May 2020, Ukraine was blown away by a juicy scandal. Verkhovna Rada member Andriy Derkach published audio recordings of phone calls between former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and the U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry
So, first question: who is Andrey Derkach?It is simple to find biographic data of the deputy on his personal website. We will not bring them here. More important another about what on his website nothing is told: he is Leonid Derkacha's son, the ex-head of the State Security Service of Ukraine in the 90th years of the last century. His dad was one of initiators of the first «record scandal» with records of private talk of the president Kuchma. The son went to the footsteps of the father. He graduated from the higher school of KGB in Moscow in the 1993. Then he served in counterintelligence of independent Ukraine, enjoying support of the powerful relative. The deputy, close to intelligence agencies, does not disclose sources of scandalous audio records. It does not raise doubts, considering the volume of the compromising evidence collected by it from different state institutions, participation of the Ukrainian successor of KGB in creation of this collection.
So, on April 6 Derkach declared that the group of hired killers arrived to Ukraine for his liquidation. According to the Ukrainian telegram-channel, the group consisted of 8 people from Great Britain and Albania, employed by heads of the Ukrainian oil and gas company «Burisma». It is necessary to tell that on April 9 Derkach won a lawsuit on a complaint from this company which was mentioned in his revelations. Thus the end was put to prolonged case. The court recognized that the firm really financed lobbyist activity, using Joe Biden's possibilities in power structures of Ukraine for closing of criminal cases against the management. I will remind in what a question essence.
After the «revolution of dignity», the opposition seated on ministerial chairs in Kiev and the search of mythical billions of overthrown president expectedly became the most important problem for leaders of the Maidan. Requests about the help in this case profitable from the media were distributed to law enforcement agencies of the different countries and, first of all, to allies on revolution – the USA and Great Britain. The British reacted unexpectedly quickly. They managed to trace and arrest large money transfers from accounts of the «Burisma company» close to Nikolay Zlochevsky the former minister of natural resources and ecology of Ukraine.
The publication on the website of the Ukrainian NABULEAKS portal: The Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine took out the suspicion to Nikolay Zlochevsky
However, as showed investigation of Derkach, it became clear soon that the Ukrainian authorities do not hurry to get out the found millions from the English banks and simply do not respond to letters of police officers from the United Kingdom. As a result Scotland Yard, in view of lack of proofs of a criminal origin of finance, made the decision about removal of arrest from accounts of «Burisma», and in Ukraine the company continued to be engaged in hydrocarbon production successfully. Investigation against Zlochevsky, transferred from the State Office of Public Prosecutor to national anti-corruption bureau, it was soon suspended and eventually in general it is closed.
The second question: why the «Burisma case» was closed?
It turns out that in April 2014, two American citizens were unexpectedly on the board of directors of Burisma. One of these, the name was Devon Archer, and he was a close friend of the stepson of US Secretary of State John Kerry. The name of another is Hunter Biden, he was the son of an American vice president. As it became known later, both gentlemen, having no experience in the oil and gas sector, neither in Eastern Europe, received very decent remuneration.
Left to right: Devon Archer, unknown person, Joseph Biden, Hunter Biden after golf game
According to various sources, in 2014-2015, “Burisma” transferred to their accounts from $3 to 30 million.
For what reasons Kerry and Biden, two heavyweights of American politics, accustomed to being sensitive to personal financial hygiene, were embroiled in corruption schemes of not the most agile Ukrainian businessman Zlochevsky, is still unknown. But the fact remains: Joe Biden and John Kerry were personally interested in unlocking the company's accounts and developing its profitable business. Given their influence on Ukrainian affairs as US foreign policy leaders, in both American and Ukrainian jurisdictions, this means at least a conflict of interest.
It is noteworthy that money transfers to their relatives and friends were carried out through illegal offshore schemes, which were later voluntarily reported to the Ukrainian court by two Latvian citizens who directly participated in the transactions. Probably, it was this circumstance, as well as the general corruption background around the activities of Burisma, that gave the Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin the basis for resuming the investigation against the company and its shadow owner Zlochevsky at the end of 2015. However, by this point, Joe Biden seems to have already realized that he had fallen into an extremely unpleasant story. Besides, preparations for the presidential election began in the United States, and contacts between Democratic Party leaders and Burisma, as well as other traces their corruption ties in Ukraine were hastily cleared. The activity of Prosecutor General Shokin against this background began to pose a serious threat to the reputation of the Democrats and their candidate Hillary Clinton, as well as her chances of taking the presidency of the United States. The Americans were nervous, hurried their proteges to NABU, pressed on Poroshenko.
According to court, oligarchs and corruption bankers brought more than 800 million dollars out of Ukraine. Ukrainians never saw this money.The part of these means (29 million dollars) got into accounts of Charity foundation of Hillary Clinton, the former U.S. presidential candidate from Democratic party.
The reason of the persistent Shokin’s desire to understand the Ukrainian affairs of the American politicians is also unknown. Perhaps, he moved the feeling of public prosecutor's honor, or the desire to receive in interesting case the jackpot, or hatred to NABU and the American NGO, which took away millions of dollars allocated with the international organizations for reform of department. At last, it is not excluded that he was «the secret trampist»… As a result, the question of resignation of the pig-headed prosecutor became the subject of special attention of Carrey and Biden.
At first Shokin was organized shadowing with NABU to collect a compromising evidence, but probably this idea was ineffectual.
Then Procurator-General was in a false manner accused and the information campaign for him discredit started in mass media, however Poroshenko decided not to endow the old confidant in this situation. As a result, Biden had to persuade the Ukrainian president to dismiss the former Prosecutor General. And Biden was even forced to go for direct blackmail and to threaten Kiev with withdrawal of a consent to allocation of the help in $1 billion from the IMF to put pressure on Poroshenko, about what he blabbed out during panel discussion of Council for the international relations in Washington on January 23, 2018: «I told them that if you do not dismiss your Procurator-General in 6 hours, you do not receive money. Son of a bitch! And he was dismissed».
To run a few steps forward we can notice that excessive frankness (or simply garrulity) of the American president can turn back considerable reputation losses. So, on April 12 this year the EU Reporter reported that the former Procurator-General of Ukraine Victor Shokin made the complaint in the European commission about violation of his rights because of the wrongful dismissal by the ex-president Petro Poroshenko under pressure of Joe Biden in 2016. If the European Commission to agree with arguments of the former head of the Ukrainian State Office of Public Prosecutor against Poroshenko and Biden personal sanctions among which prohibition on entrance on the territory of the EU, and also «freezing» of all financial assets in European Banks can be imposed. «Victor Shokin's resignation violated his right to work and fair judicial proceedings and, besides, the right of Ukraine to self-determination was violated», – the edition noted.
As a result, in the middle of 2016 business of Burisma was finally closed. However, it found political relevance from the beginning of the next electoral cycle in the USA in 2019 again without having played roles in the American elections in 2016.
The third question: why the «Burisma case» wasn’t open again?
In 2019, the newly elected president Zelensky faced a difficult choice: what to do with the dirt on the top of the American government? On the one hand, interesting prospects were opened for finding a concrete ally in the face of the current American president Trump, helping him defeat the Democratic Party. On the other hand, in front of him was Poroshenko's unfortunate experience, who overestimated Hillary Clinton's chances of winning. And we must pay tribute to the courage of the ex-comedian: he decided to balance and intrigue till the end, showing his usefulness at the same time to Trump (in the event of the disclosure of the entire folder of compromising evidence on Biden and his entourage), and Biden (keeping this information concealed). The servant of the two gentlemen played two games, while with the help of the SBU simultaneously collecting impressive incriminating evidence on the Americans. At the same time, he didn’t give anything concrete in the hands of the ex-mayor of New York Rudolf Giuliani, who several times met with Andrei Yermak.
The final decision to bet on Biden at Bankovaya-Street was probably made only in October 2020, when it became clear that the gap between Biden and Trump was not narrowing even under the influence of new incriminating evidence. Especially exiting is the question of how a Hunter Biden's personal laptop containing photos and letters extremely unpleasant for his family appeared in one of the American computer workshops. Even Trump supporters did not seem to believe the story of a «happy coincidence,» when a trump card with compromising evidence on Democratic candidate at the height of the election campaign falls into the hands of a Republican. Less fantastic is the version of a special operation of Ukrainian (or Israeli?) Special Services to deliberately steal a laptop and change the contained information to discredit Biden as a «Chinese agent» and supporter of lifting sanctions on Iran. This is indirectly proofed by the fact that Hunter was rather careless about personal things and could create excellent conditions for stealing his laptop during numerous alcoholic adventures that regularly took place surrounded by Ukrainian colleagues from Burisma. By the way, until the middle of 2019, he was listed as a member of the board of directors, taking part in its meetings from time to time.
As a result, Zelensky did not earn much gratitude from the Democrats, having been late with the choice of priorities. However, the «Ukrainian issue» undoubtedly remains on the agenda. It will spoil the mood of the leadership of the US Democratic Party for a long time and is likely to become one of the plots of the upcoming electoral battles along with the «Chinese dossier». The Democrats are forced to defend themselves and to hide the consequences of their past acts. On April 6, Hunter himself presented his memoirs «The Beautiful Things» where he told about his work in Burisma and the circumstances of the loss of the ill-fated laptop. Refuting his father's apparent involvement in the Ukrainian case, Hunter described colorfully in his book and during numerous interviews after its presentation the way he spent money received from Burisma. He allegedly transmitted nohing to his father and did not even consult on the employment account.
But the Republicans, apparently, do not intend to archive the Burisma case. It can be proved by Mike McCormick’s having mentioned the case recently. McCormick is a stenographer of the White House, whose book «Unauthorized Biden» in 2020 became one of the bright examples of Trumpian propaganda.
The fourth question four: instead of a conclusion
The material was ready for publication on the website when the news of the appointment of a certain Amos Hochstein as a special representative of the US president to counter the construction of Nord Stream 2 appeared.
Unlike Hunter, this American is not only a personal protégé of Biden, but also a real pro in oil and gas affairs. He began his career as an employee of the apparatus of the US Democratic Party. He went in for economic policy issues of legislation on export control, trade sanctions, most favorable regimes in trade with foreign countries and the US participation in international economic organizations during his work in the party subcommittee.
In 2011, Hochstein joined the Energy Resources Agency of the State Department. Shortly he was appointed deputy for energy affairs of the US Ambassador to Ukraine Carlos Pascual. On August 1, 2014, Hochstein became a special envoy
and the coordinator of international energy projects, in fact, the main US energy diplomat and the right hand of Vice President Joe Biden in his activities on the use of energy as an instrument of US foreign policy. Hochstein accompanied Biden on all international trips, attended negotiations with officials and executives of major energy corporations.
However, his hour of triumph came after “the revolution of dignity” in Ukraine. In August, 2014 numerous representatives of the different American government and private organizations and funds visited Kyiv joining the fight for the Ukrainian power assets. Even George Soros, the ideologist of the American globalism and a spiritual leader of Democratic Party of the United States, reportedly visited the Ukrainian capital in November, 2014 to discuss the reforming of state-owned Naftogaz natural gas company. The billionaire held a number of meetings with Andrey Kobolev, who was the head of Naftogaz, and his senior adviser Yury Vitrenko. Hochstein was the one who managed the transformation of Naftogaz. As a result, McKinsey&Company management and consulting firm was contracted to reform the company, and in December, 2015 the supervisory board that included foreign citizens was actually headed by Amos Hochstein also headed is created.
This “supervisory board” got large legal powers on control and management of company’s activities. It approved all the agreements, deals, payments, and supplies. And exactly at that period of time the Ukraine learned a new term – REVERSE.
In 2014, Arseniy Yatsenyuk's government cancelled Russian gas direct supplies, saying it was unacceptable to do business with the “aggressor state”. Instead Kyiv started to buy the same Russian gas from the European suppliers according to the so-called “reverse scheme” when the gas had to arrive on the EU territory first, then to be pumped over to Ukraine. In reality, the “reverse” actually never existed – the gas meter was working, accounting documents were processed, money was transferred, but the Russian gas never left Ukraine. At the same time the Ukrainian consumers had to pay the European companies a margin for gas supplies to Ukraine. In 2015-2018 the average price of gas in the European Union was $211 per 1,000 m3. Naftogaz bought it from the European companies for $246 per 1,000 m3, for the price that is $35 higher (almost 15%). Having all that in mind one can calculate that the annual purchases in 8.5 billion cubic meters of gas, Naftogaz overpaid the suppliers about $300, that make about $2 billion during the period from 2015 to 2020!
What were these suppliers? All of them are well-known. The largest is “ERU trading” (“Energy resources of Ukraine”). The company controlled up to 8% of all “reverse” market. The owner of this firm is the U.S. citizen Andrey Favorov, who is living in Moscow and has close ties with Ukraine’s Odessa city. In the 2000th he worked in the European offices of the AES, the American energy company, from where he came to the Ukrainian gas business. But the most important is that he is a close friend of Andrey Kobolev and his partner, and since 2018 – his deputy in Naftogaz (it should be noted that the same year his company was rebranded as “WORLAND TRADING”).
It is clear that all these schemes could not remain out of sight of the supervisory committee and personally Amos Hochstein. From all appearances, the American is the main inventor, as well as the manager of the reverse scheme, which allows the US Democratic Party to participate in receiving corruption superannuation in the Ukrainian energy market. It is significant that according to telephone conversations, which were made public by Derkach, Biden was forced to repeatedly ask Poroshenko to do nothing with Hochstein and not to dismiss Kobolev and other Naftogaz leaders. The first time, Yatsenyuk government resigned and the second time just before Trump inauguration in December 2016. Retaining the integrity of the reverse scheme even after its departure to the opposition, the Democrats continued to receive astronomical funds in 2017-2019. These incomes were tens or even hundreds of times higher than even millions of proceeds from «Burisma».
In this light, a new round of American administration struggle against «Nord Stream 2» looks completely different. As for Trump the first place was the interests of national producers of liquefied natural gas, whose products he wanted to replace the supply of Russian gas to the EU, but for Biden, this is probably about personal finance. The launch of a new gas pipeline will lead to a drop in Russian gas supplies through Ukraine. And it means a decrease in the volume of «reverse» and a drop in the income of importing companies controlled by Hochstein and his Washington patrons.There are still a lot of questions in this story. But it is already obvious that the potential devastating effect of the «Hochstein case» can far exceed the consequences of the scandal with «Burisma».
And there is another noteworthy circumstance. Biden proteges in the Ukrainian government decided to strengthen the NSDC with their verified personnel for the information cover of their machinations. For instance, the notorious Polina Chizh, one of the defendants in the scandal of information leak from NABU to the the US Embassy in Kiev as well as the organizer of the harassment of Prosecutor General Shokin in the spring of 2016, was appointed to the post of head of the center for combating misinformation.
Apparently, with her submission, all corruption revelations will henceforth be qualified as misinformation that threatens the security of the state.
Joe Biden – President of the United States;
Vladimir Zelensky - President of Ukraine;
Petro Poroshenko - the former President of Ukraine;
Andrey Derkach - People's Deputy of Ukraine;
Arseny Yatsenyuk – Ukrainian politician and businessman, Ukrainian Prime Minister (02.2014-04.2016)
Nikolay Zlochevsky – Ukrainian politician and businessman, former minister of ecology and natural resources of Ukraine, deputy chief of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine on economic issues (04.2012-02.2014).
Hunter Biden is an American lawyer and businessman, the son of US President Joe Biden, a member of the Board of the Burisma Group Holding (since 04.2014);
Hillary Clinton – American politician, Secretary of State (2009-2013), the US presidential nominee (2016);
Devon Archer - Member of the Management Board of the Burisma Group Holding;
Viktor Shokin-Ukrainian politician, Prosecutor General of Ukraine (02.2015-04.2016);
Amosa Hochstein-member of the Supervisory Board of Naftogaz;
Rudy Giuliani – American politician and businessman, personal attorney of the US president Donald Trump
ERU Trading - Energy Resources of Ukraine»;
Burisma Holdings - private gas production group in Ukraine;
NABU - National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine;
McKinsey & Company