KIEV (Reuters) – A man jumped on the car of former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko as he was driven away from being questioned as a witness on Thursday over the sale of his shipbuilding plant to another businessman.
TV footage also showed the man spraying gas into the face of one of Poroshenko’s bodyguards who had rushed to intervene, before being hit with an umbrella by another bodyguard. No one was hurt.
“This is a provocation by the pro-Russian gangsters who raised their heads after the change of power in Ukraine,” said Svyatoslav Tsegolko, Poroshenko’s spokesman, in a text message, about the attack, without giving further details.
Poroshenko, who campaigned on a strong anti-Russia ticket, lost April’s presidential election by a landslide to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a former comedian who has promised to tackle entrenched corruption and low living standards.
Known as the “chocolate king”, Poroshenko become one of Ukraine’s wealthiest men through his confectionery company Roshen, but also owns other businesses.
The State Bureau of Investigation has not revealed the details of its investigation into the shipbuilding plant’s sale last year.
Poroshenko said he had given explanations verbally and in writing about the sale of the shipbuilding plant, which he says was done transparently and without his direct participation.
He said several of his businesses are being investigated, including his TV channel.
Poroshenko remained in politics since his election defeat and his party won seats at Sunday’s parliamentary election.
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; writing by Matthias Williams)