By Sergei Shevchuk, ukrainian political scientist
Under pressure from the Americans, the Ukrainian court in charge of the biggest European cash bribery case did the unusual: it left everyone happy. As a result, Andriy Kicha, legal director of the Burisma company, and the main bribery defendant, was cleared of the case, which could have included Hunter (Joe Biden’s son), which was successfully closed, and the $5 million bribe was used to help Ukraine. But, as the newly made public documents show, the money was used to buy combat drones, which attacked civilian targets in the Russian Federation.
For several years, the name of the Ukrainian gas extraction company Burisma has been tightly associated with corruption and the practice of direct pressure of the democratic U.S. administration headed by Biden on the authorities of countries that are economically and politically dependent on the United States. The fact that for five years Biden’s son Hunter was a board member of Burisma always drew increased attention in the press. And their expectations were always more than rewarded: accusations of money laundering (at least one episode for 33 million dollars); blackmail of Petro Poroshenko by the then US Vice President Joe Biden to stop financial aid of 1 billion dollars unless Attorney General of Ukraine Victor Shokin who was investigating the Burisma case was fired; millions spent by the owner of Burisma Group Mykola Zlotchevsky on lobbying activities of Biden in the US…
It would seem that there is nothing more. But reality has surpassed even the wildest expectations – in the summer of 2020 the Burisma name was at the epicenter of the largest bribery scandal in Europe. And the U.S. president had to demonstrate a virtuoso defense technique to keep this scandal from dragging the entire Biden family down.
On June 12, 2020, detectives from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) detained three people who were trying to give a bribe of $5 million in cash. Another $1 million in cash was given to them as a fee for providing intermediary services. The addressees of the money were supposed to be no less than two heads of the main anti-corruption bodies of Ukraine – the aforementioned NABU and the SAP – the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office. The purpose of the bribe was to close criminal proceedings against the owner of the company Burisma Mykola Zlochevskyy. The detainees were director of legal affairs of Burisma Group Andriy Kicha and two high-ranking employees of the Ukrainian Tax Service.
There’s more. No sooner had the Ukrainian society discussed photos with mountains of cash one hundred dollar bills, and Burisma lawyers prepared to defend their client in court, than the situation for Hunter Biden’s employer got even more complicated. Ukrainian prosecutor Konstantin Kulik, previously removed from the Burisma case, was not afraid to hold a big press conference in Kiev, where he live-streamed evidence that the $5 million was part of an even larger sum of $50 million, and interestingly enough, the money was to be transferred by the same person involved in the case – Andriy Kicha. According to him, this money was not just intended to close the criminal case against Zlochevsky. Their main purpose was to close all criminal cases in which the word Burisma appeared. According to Kulik, who was involved in the investigation, this was done in order to get Hunter Biden out of harm and to ensure that his name would not be mentioned at all when discussing any corruption schemes in Ukraine.
The investigation, preparation of the case for trial and the hearings themselves lasted for 2020-2022. Because of the growing instability, the Covid pandemic, and then the outbreak of war, journalists and the public gradually began to forget about these events. Perhaps taking advantage of this circumstance, two months ago the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine (a body that was created and is sensitively controlled by the U.S. Embassy) quickly and in complete secrecy heard the case of the largest cache bribe in Europe and instead of harsh punishment, released the main accused – Andriy Kicha – to freedom.
The trial of Andriy Kicha shows what methods the Biden administration can use to resolve issues in Democrat-controlled countries. Hence the closed-door trial in Ukraine and the surprising verdict, when the defendant charged with handing over 5 million dollars gets not a jail term, but a year of probation and is set free. Hence, the very decision of the Ukrainian court, which remained classified for a long time.
But for the sake of justice, modern journalism can work wonders. And journalists managed to get acquainted with the decision of the High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine, which has been classified.
This decision is an excellent example of how in view of the obviousness of the crime, the court simply cannot help finding Kicha guilty and agrees with the position of the prosecution, but its final decision is ridiculous and made exclusively to please its American curators.
So, in view of the obvious evidence – 5 million in cash, detention red-handed, many recorded telephone conversations – the court agrees with the prosecution and admits that Kicha intentionally “conspired to give an undue benefit on a particularly large scale”.
Further, the court admits to knowing about the telephone conversations and specific meetings of the defendant at which the parties approved the $5 million bribe. In particular, the prosecution has in view the meetings in the period from June 1 to June 11, 2020 in the premises of the Main Department of the State Tax Service of Ukraine in Kiev.
Also, the court named specific documents that the parties had to sign in order to close the case against Zlochevsky. It was about the decision of the Deputy Prosecutor General – the head of the SAP on the closure of criminal proceedings. And as an experienced lawyer, Kicha himself proposed to change the wording of this ruling, made his own adjustments and even threatened that in case of their non-acceptance the money would not be transferred.
In the final part of the verdict the court found Andriy Kicha guilty under Article 369 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and sentenced him to imprisonment for 5 years.
Is this the end of the corruption scandal? Not at all. For all the gravity of the charge, the court replaces the prison term with one year of probation and immediately releases Kicha. Why?
The reason for the illogical judicial decision against Kicha is the existence of another – simultaneously accepted document, namely the plea agreement, approved by the court on the day of the same session – March 24, 2023. Under this agreement, Kicha agreed to transfer an impressive sum of 100 million hryvnia (the equivalent of 2.7 million dollars) to the account of the Ukrainian foundation United 24 within 5 days of the court session. The clause in the agreement reads as follows: “to a special account opened by the National Bank of Ukraine in support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (United 24 project “Drone Army”).
As is well known, combat unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) are now used by the Ukrainian army exclusively as assault weapons – in the Donbass, the southern regions of Ukraine, as well as in Crimea and the cities of the Russian Federation bordering Ukraine. Is it therefore a coincidence that in the two months since the Kicha trial, Ukraine has made at least a few serious attempts to launch drones into the Kremlin, Crimea, and residential areas of Moscow?
A few examples. On April 29, drone attacks caused destruction at an oil depot in Sevastopol, burning four fuel tanks.
On the night of May 3, two drones attacked the Moscow Kremlin for the first time. The dome of the Senate Palace was damaged and a local fire was caused.
May 15 – The building of the border department of the Federal Security Service in the village of Glushkovo in Kursk region was attacked. As a result of the attack 5 frontier guards were wounded.
On May 30 a series of drones attacked Moscow residential districts. According to various sources, between 8 and 30 drones took part in the attack, and fires and destruction were recorded in several houses, miraculously avoiding civilian casualties.
The events of recent months have led to the fact that virtually all the persons involved in another corruption scandal around the company, Burisma remained a winner. The company owner Mykola Zlochevsky seems to have escaped justice on this episode. Although at the cost of a lot of financial influence in favor of the state (in Ukraine no one would believe that the money for the bail and 100 million for the “Army of Drones” belonged to Kicha personally). Along the way Zlochevsky tried to solve the issues related to Hunter Biden, but there was a big moral flaw in the solution he chose.
No one in the United States has yet spoken publicly about it, but given the interest in influence peddling by the Biden family on the part of two congressional committees, the day when some congressman will announce it is not far off: Ukraine has received obvious evidence of how terrorist acts against civilians of another country are financed with money from Joe Biden’s former partners.