Translation of long-time Tymoshenko supporter Taras Kuzio’s blog from LB.ua
Quotes inserted by www.ukrainianpopulism2019.com
When Oleksandr Onyshchenko fled Ukraine in 2016 with his tail between his legs – having his parliamentary immunity stripped, under investigation for embezzling funds, and charged with treason – his delusions of grandeur led him to believe a life of luxury awaited the disgraced oligarch and his family in the United States or United Kingdom. In other words, he had the same illusions as did Pavlo Lazarenko, Yulia Tymoshenko’s gas business partner, who fled from Ukraine in 1999 only to find that he ended up in a US jail.
Onyshchenko has lived the life of a medieval bard, singing to foreign intelligence services throughout western capital cities about the alleged incriminating evidence he possesses on President Petro Poroshenko and his associates, in hopes of some reward from the West. Again, this is a similar story to Lazarenko who believed that he could win a life of luxury by revealing details of corruption under Leonid Kuchma.
The problem for Lazarenko – as it is for Onyshchenko – is that they had and have no credibility to Western governments because they were both highly corrupt and always refused to accept they had broken Ukraine’s laws. When Lazarenko and Onyshchenko point fingers at “corrupt” Kuchma and Poroshenko while strenuously asserting they are themselves innocent they become laughing caricatures.
According to multiple sources with intimate knowledge of Onyshchenko’s activities over the past two years, he has repeatedly approached intelligence services in Washington, London, Madrid, and Berlin. Onyshchenko’s always asks his foreign interlocutors the same question of the promise of asylum for him and his family and of course to keep his money. Each time, Western intelligence agencies have rebuffed him.
A US intelligence source did not believe he was forthright while his recorded “evidence” was not judged authentic (which is the same view of NABU head Artem Sytnyk). U.S. intelligence sources consider Onyshchenko to be an impetuous, arrogant, corrupt tycoon who wasted the time of American law enforcement officials in Washington and FBI and CIA officials based in Europe. His thanks to U.S. intelligence sources for wasting their time was publishing an article in Ukraine, exposing their identities. His reckless behavior in making public the names and photographs of FBI counterintelligence officials ensured he will not enter the United States anytime soon.
Sources confirm he also reached out to the office of US Special Counsel Robert Mueller, offering information for the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. One of Mueller’s top lieutenants was reportedly left unimpressed by the bumbling Onyshchenko, who provided no meaningful or authentic information for the investigators.
Onyshchenko’s planned to bring his then-pregnant wife to the United States last year in order to take advantage of America’s birthright citizenship but he was denied by the U.S. government. According to former consultants working with Onyshchenko, he tells anyone who listens that he was granted asylum in Spain, going so far as to proudly flash his immigration documents, thinking no one will question his claims since the document is written in Spanish. In reality, the document he possesses from the Spanish government is nothing more than a temporary entry status, stating “international protection filing request receipt.”
Onyshchenko has repeatedly publicized that Interpol refuses to issue a global Red Notice for his arrest. However, several European countries are honoring Ukraine’s diffusion notices, preventing his free travel throughout the Schengen Area. Similar to the phony asylum notice from Spain that Onyshchenko shows to Western consultants, he often sends documents supposedly from “The Commission for the control of INTERPOL’s files” allegedly confirming the absence of any Red Notice arrest warrant. Comically, the doctored documents are dated September 2016, yet reference decisions rendered by this commission are dated four months in the future in January 2017.
Spanish authorities have long been anxious to rid themselves of the duplicitous oligarch, which forced the panicked Onyshchenko to reportedly instruct Kyiv-based emissaries to negotiate for his safe passage back to Ukraine. Apparently, his desperate pleas to come back to his home country and his stolen loot were nixed at some level, which caused Onyshchenko to lash out with his latest publicity tour.
There is only one explanation why he would release these doctored, recorded conversations and write a “tell-all” book after two years in exile. Oligarch Onyshchenko is a man without a home, who is running low of money, has few options for living in the West and ears meeting Lazarenko’s fate.
Onyshchenko recklessly spent money in Europe and tore through Western consultants and lawyers who he hoped could bring him the hero status he sought with U.S. and European policymakers. Onyshchenko developed a reputation amongst consultants specializing in Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia as not honoring his financial commitments, according to a Washington lobbyist with knowledge of separate incidents when Onyshchenko did not pay his U.S., European, and Ukrainian consultants for substantial invoices.
Along the way, he thought it would help his cause to work with infamous U.S. attorney Arkady Bukh, who has represented a convicted Boston terrorist bombing co-conspirator and Russian cyber-criminals. Bukh’s representation of Onyshchenko raises questions of possible Russian influence in Onyshchenko’s campaign to discredit Poroshenko and Ukraine with stories of reforms off track.
Sources with knowledge of U.S. intelligence concerns on Onyshchenko confirm the authenticity of a recently recorded conversation of Onyshchenko and a Russian citizen in Israel. The source confirms Onyshchenko’s discussion, which has been sent to Ukraine’s General Prosecutor, implicating him in criminal activities.
Onyshchenko is low of cash, depleting a cash-collateralized British bank credit card that is tracked by U.S. and European authorities, according to a former CIA operations officer. This same source confirms his electronic communications are regularly monitored and that close business associates of Onyshchenko are cooperating with Russian intelligence. Foreign intelligence services seek to question Onyshchenko on the sales of military equipment and business dealings with Naftohaz Ukrainy, Rybalsky Kuznia Shipyard, Hyundai, DTEK, and ARIDA.
According to a source with knowledge of U.S. financial intelligence community concerns about Bukh, Onyshchenko’s former lawyer is possibly under investigation by the U.S. government. U.S. authorities are concerned with the source of funding for some of Bukh’s clients and have doubts that Bukh has conducted sufficient due diligence during the “know your customer (KYC)” protocols. If Bukh is formally interviewed, he could be subpoenaed to produce his client roster, as Trump fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen was recently required to do. The reason for such an investigation would be U.S. government suspicion that Bukh’s current or past clients have used money from accounts that have raised red flags to pay for legal services or that the money is tainted. Onyshchenko is currently represented by former NABU auditor Martha Boersch.
Onyshchenko’s arrogance is akin to that of other Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs, including Lazarenko, whose Disneyland world they have created for themselves makes them think they can win presidential elections and “save” their countries from “corrupt presidents”. While of course continuing to believe the illusion that they were never corrupt themselves.
Like Lazarenko before him, Onyshchenko lives in a make-believe world where he is the good guy who never did anything wrong. The psychologies of Lazarenko and Onyshchenko are so similar it must be part of a pattern common to corrupt oligarchs. When Lazarenko formed his Hromada party in in 1998 he believed he would run in the following years presidential election against Kuchma. Onyshchenko also talks of standing in the 2019 elections. In Russia, Mikhail Khodorokovsky entertained similar illusions of “saving Russia”.
Lazarenko and Onyshchenko both have published books about “corruption” committed by Ukrainian presidents. Both were forced though to flee abroad which prevented them from following through on their presidential delusions.
Lazarenko sought asylum in the US and was convicted and went to jail. Onyshchenko has few options and his fate is still to be decided but one thing is for sure, he is not welcome at home or abroad.