Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Monday (April 4) he had done nothing wrong, after lawmakers called for an investigation into allegations he used an offshore firm to avoid tax.
He is cited in the so-called Panama Papers as having set up a company in the Virgin Islands for his confectionery business, Roshen, in August 2014.
Poroshenko said on Twitter he had handed over management of his assets to consulting and law firms when he took office two years ago.
Having become a President, I'm not participating in management of my assets, having delegated this responsibility to consulting&law firms— Петро Порошенко (@poroshenko) 4 April 2016
I believe I might be the first top official in Ukraine who treats declaring of assets, paying taxes, conflict of interest issues seriously— Петро Порошенко (@poroshenko) 4 April 2016
Poroshenko’s legal adviser, Kiev-based Avellum, called the tax-evasion allegations groundless and said Roshen met all its Ukrainian tax obligations.
“This structure is in line with Ukrainian law regulating his conflict of interest rules and the blind trust is in lined with international standards for asset management of asset political exposed persons,” said Vadim Medvedev, Associate at Avellum Partners.
Andriy Marusov of Transparency International in Ukraine said suspicions remained about Poroshenko’s activities.
“If the head of the State did lie in his asset declarations, this is really serious damage to any anti-corruption fight in the country. Because no public official in the country would feel himself or herself obliged to follow those requirements,” he told euronews.
Lawmakers, including from within the president’s own faction, have called for a parliamentary committee to look into the allegations.
Under Ukrainian law, only parliament can launch an investigation into a sitting president.