The Prosecutors Office raids the prosecutors of prosecutors office – UkraineAugust 6, 2016
On 14th July 2015 when Viktor Shokin was Prosecutor General of Ukraine, this blog gazed into its crystal ball and forecast his replacement, (whatever the then legal obstacles), would be Yuri Lutsenko.
Lo, on 12th May 2016 almost one year later, Yuri Lutsenko did indeed become the next Prosecutor General – after eventually overcoming the legal hurdles.
It therefore followed that the crystal ball required dusting off and a gaze within required to foretell what his reign as Prosecutor General would look like.
“As Yuri Lutsenko is, and will remain, a career politician (with ambitions greater than being the Prosecutor General, albeit it will perhaps be perceived as a step up from his last role as Block Poroshenko faction leader within the Verkhovna Rada) his tenure will be self-limited and far from ignorant of the national political timetable.
It is therefore reasonable to predict his tenure being no more than 2 years in office, perhaps 18 months. Much will depend upon the timing of any early Verkhovna Rada elections – or not. A return to the Cabinet of Ministers is clearly the ultimate goal of a man that has twice before been Minister for the Interior.
Thus, having set that backdrop, what can be expected from Yuri Lutsenko as Prosecutor General over the next 18 months (2 years maximum)?
Clearly being a politician in a prosecutor’s chair, he will immediately prioritise those issues that matter to the voting constituency, if nothing else in preparation for his political return. Ergo former-President Yanukovych and closest circle are likely to see cases brought to the courtroom and assets arrested (or what’s left of them) in the meantime.
The violence of EuroMaidan/Revolution of Dignity will feature highly too.
However, as a career politician and High Chamberlain/Grey Cardinal well versed in grubby little deals behind the political curtain, it is difficult (some would say impossible) to see a necessarily A-political Yuri Lutsenko when fulfilling his new role. Either consciously or subconsciously he will be immediately aware of the politics of any prosecutions his new realm undertakes – and here think not only of the personalities that fall within the NABU remit, but more broadly.”
These paragraphs are a necessary backdrop to recent events, including a raid upon NABU – the agency tasked with top level corruption investigation, including within the Prosecutors Office – and the agency most insulated from Yuri Lutsenko within his empire.
There have been several cases over the past few months that clearly fall within the NABU remit as specified by Ukrainian legislation, that other branches of the Prosecutors Office have taken on without so much as a courtesy call to inform them of intended operations.
In short deliberate trespassing upon NABU turf which may, or may not, result in problems when (or perhaps if) cases get to court and a judge then questions jurisdiction.
Despite public statements by NABU (and thus informing the Ukrainian constituency of what is going on) respectfully reminding the Prosecutor General to keep the large and still corrupt feet of the PGO off of the (thus far) corruption free, legislatively designated, clearly identified, manicured lawns of NABU, those large and still corrupt feet continue to tread heavily upon the manicured lawns of NABU.
The 5th August then witnessed the PGO raid the NABU offices with a warrant issued by the notoriously corrupt and politically compliant Pechersk Court in Kyiv.
A warrant lacking in specifics in the grounds for its granting, and so broad in its scope as to provide the PGO carte blanche to do what they like and take what they want from within the NABU offices. In short, the prosecutors raided the offices of the prosecutors of (among others) prosecutors and were allowed to remove pretty much anything they liked.
This based upon the claim of illegal wiretapping by unidentified persons within NABU upon unidentified persons.
In turn, NABU claim to have wiretaps only carried out by the SBU – which currently is the only State body legitimately allowed to conduct wiretaps (with a court warrant). That NABU, an entity created to investigate the very top of the Ukrainian pyramid has to use a very leaky and politically beholding SBU for wiretaps is naturally a problem in and of itself where confidentiality is vital to their investigations.
Whatever – All above board is the NABU claim, and we have the documents to prove it! Their message being – Back off or those documents can reach the media and will infer, Mr Lusenko, that you are deliberately attempting to influence a legitimate and necessarily independent body estranged from the rest of your corrupt empire for good reason.
The current rumour (at the time of writing) is that the sanctioned search relates to a previous arrest of a top prosecutor for involvement in a UAH 300 million nefarious agricultural scheme/scam originating in Cherkassy and a belief that some rather incriminating statements have been made by people of import that have also been caught in the wiretap conversations unrelated to the nefarious Cherkassy scheme/scam.
Perhaps an attempt to “clean up some messy evidence” that would be inconvenient for the powers that be? Who knows (other than NABU and the SBU wiretappers)?
It seems unlikely that whoever is believed to have compromised themselves in a wiretap in matters related or unrelated to the initial NABU arrest and investigation is important enough for such a brazen move against NABU by Mr Lutsenko (or by extension the President). NABU has too much societal, civil society and external sponsor interest for such folly.
NABU is the only part of the PGO empire that has any public trust whatsoever, public and civil society opinion will most likely align with NABU and not with a well known political “Grey Cardinal” almost all believe to be nothing more than a Presidential puppet, or his still corrupt empire.
If public perception matters to a man that seeks to reenter politics in a Cabinet position within 2 years per the forecast of this blog, why then is Yuri Lutsenko going after the only part of his crooked empire that has any public confidence? Why is he continuously either deliberately, or tacitly, undermining not only NABU but the legislation created within which it works so regularly?
Is it that he, or indeed President Poroshenko, (or both) now fear they cannot control or influence the beast they have created – despite ultimately still being in the position to definitively influence any court result? (An influence that will not disappear even when the new judicial mechanisms begin to take force in October – indeed arguably the presidential administration could have more (rather than less) influence than it currently has.)
If this is a PR stunt to promote Yuri Lutsenko, it is one that is very likely to backfire. If it is an attempt at a coercive influencing operation against NABU, it will draw the ire of society, civil society and the international supporters of Ukraine all of whom support NABU and distrust Yuri Lutsenko and the PGO as an institution. Indeed it will deepen that distrust.
Perhaps it is an attempt to restrict any NABU requests for a larger legislatively permissive institutional toolbox regarding its own internal abilities promoting non-reliance upon external leaky and politically beholding agencies, thus taking it further out of the control of Mr Lutsenko (and by extension the President)?
Whatever the thinking behind this PGO raid upon NABU, it is extremely unlikely to have anything much to do with alleged illegal wiretaps by unnamed NABU detectives upon persons unknown – and it is being done with the usual modus operandi subtlety of the ever retarded homo sovieticus suggesting this is much more about messaging and much less about the pursuit of justice.