Kyiv, February 15, 2015. Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine Vitaliy Kasko resigned – because of the systematic pressure by Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin and liquidation of his department on the day when suspicion to a so-called “diamond prosecutor” Oleksandr Korniyets was announced. Vitaly Kasko made this announcement at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. According to Mr. Kasko, the last straw was the next reorganization of the Prosecutor General Office (PGO). “Shokin has taken away all my functions and tools to investigate and control proceedings in cases initiated by our team, including the case of the so-called ‘diamond prosecutors’,” he said
“My desire to resign is due to the fact that today’s top officials of the prosecutor’s office have ultimately turned it into a body saturated with corruption and cover-up, while any attempts to bring in change are persecuted immediately. It’s not justice and law that rule here but arbitrary rule and lawlessness. Day by day, key positions at the PGO are occupied by followers of notorious Pshonka,” as Kasko described the state of affairs in the PGO in his report. According to him, the same political tutelage, direct and total pressure on investigators and prosecutors, intentional professional degradation, inaction and impunity are hidden behind the screen of the allegedly reformed body.
“After the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity, everyone expected this law enforcement body to be fair and hold transparent investigation of corruption offenses of Yanukovych regime. But under the current leadership, it has finally turned into a tool of political intimidation and of money-making,” wrote Vitaliy Kasko in his report addressed to Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. Therefore, in his opinion, under the current leadership of the PGO, possibilities to create genuine European prosecution model have completely exhausted. Today PGO “has become a hindrance to the reform of the criminal justice system as a whole, a hotbed of corruption, a political pressure tool and one of the key obstacles to foreign investments to Ukraine,” emphasized Vitaliy Kasko. He said that the reform of the prosecution, launched by David Sakvarelidze, had been consciously undermined, local prosecutors are not updated, no external candidate is appointed head of local prosecutor’s office.
Vitaliy Kasko noted that the case against bribery of the so-called “diamond prosecutors” had been completed in November last year and on January 4, 2016 sent to the court. “But as soon as in February, a few days ago, we announced new suspicion to Oleksandr Korniyets of committing aggravated extortion, I mean the episode on extortion and receiving monthly funds from the garbage business of the “Nikolsan” company owner and then “spinning” of the enterprise, the same day Prosecutor General Shokin issued an order which eliminated the Investigation Department of General Inspection. And he deprived me of all my powers so that I could not bring this case to an end. Then, a few days later, General Inspection prosecutors were also excluded,” said Kasko.
Vitaliy Kasko informed that two more proceedings were prepared against Oleksandr Korniyets. The first case concerns the illicit enrichment. “It has been determined that the funds paid for Anastasia Korniyets’ studies in London during 2011 – 2014, exceeded 140,000 pounds (i.e. 200 thousand US dollars). These funds channelled by an offshore company whose nominee director was one Eric Vanahels [ …], known in Ukraine for “Boyko’s Drilling Rigs” fraud, – noted Vitaly Kasko. The second case concerns the sources of diamonds that have been confiscated which may imply another crime, he emphasized. “It is possible that after my release these proceedings will be ruined. Unfortunately, recent court decisions in Ivanyuschenko cases strongly suggest that the Prosecutor-General’s Office is doing so well, ” said Kasko.
He informed that before taking a final decision on his resignation, he consulted with foreign partners. “We have reached a consensus that there is no other way. Now the Prosecutor-General’s Office is a dead body. Nobody believes in its independence and effectiveness,” said the Deputy Prosecutor General. Vitaly Kasko hopes that European Union sanctions on Viktor Yanukovych’s environment will continue. According to him, today his department made every effort to maintain them. “If there are no further investigation failures by March 5, 2016, […] the hope of maintaining sanctions for the next year will remain,” he said. Kasko emphasized that in this case, it will be a political decision of the EU Council to support the Ukrainian people, with the hope of further fundamental changes in the law enforcement system.”Ruined and delayed criminal proceedings against former high officials are the biggest disappointment of both Ukrainians and foreign partners,” he added.
In future Vitaly Kasko plans to practice law and export activities in the area of criminal justice. He does not rule out his participation as an expert in international anti-corruption programs.