Ukrainian President Named in Panama Papers, Denies Wrongdoing

Ukraine’s President denied wrongdoing after his name was linked to offshore accounts arranged by a Panama law firm

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Ukraine’s President denied wrongdoing after his name was linked to offshore accounts arranged by a Panama law firm. (Photo: AP)

The president of Ukraine became the latest prominent politician to deny wrongdoing on Wednesday after his name was linked to secretive offshore accounts arranged by a Panama law firm.

The revelations have raised suspicion that such offshore entities were set up to avoid taxes, but Petro Poroshenko denied that this was the purpose in his case. Rather, he said, it was necessary to create an offshore holding company to put his candy business in a blind trust when he became president of Ukraine in 2014.

This is absolutely normal procedure, and I think this is the main difference from the naming of all the political figures in this Panama list. If we have anything to be investigated, I am happy to do that. But, this is absolutely transparent from the very beginning. No hidden account, no associated management, no nothing.
Petro Poroshenko

The so-called Panama Papers reports, which were coordinated by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, have prompted both fierce criticism of those named and strong denials of wrongdoing. While there are legitimate reasons for setting up offshore companies, corruption experts say such constructs are frequently used to hide assets – be it from tax authorities or ex-spouses.

In Poroshenko’s case, Ukrainian opposition groups argue that the president’s decision to set up an offshore holding company in the British Virgin Islands could have deprived his country of millions of dollars in taxes.

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