Accessibility links

Breaking News

Ukraine Officials Say Offered $6 Million To Drop Probe Into Gas Company, But No Bidens Link


President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (center) meets with the head of National Anti-Corruption Bureau, Artem Sytnyk (right) and anti-corruption prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytskiy in Kyiv in May 2019.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (center) meets with the head of National Anti-Corruption Bureau, Artem Sytnyk (right) and anti-corruption prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytskiy in Kyiv in May 2019.

Ukrainian officials say they were offered $6 million in bribes to end a criminal investigation into the head of a gas company where the son of former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden served on the board.

Ukraine's anti-corruption prosecutor, Nazar Kholodnitskiy, told a press conference in Kyiv on June 13 that neither of the Bidens was connected to the alleged bribe attempt.

The Burisma natural gas company was at the center of a scandal leading to U.S. President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Biden is Trump’s Democratic challenger in the November presidential election.

"The total confiscated was $6 million. This a record amount for a bribe in Ukraine, as far as I remember," said Artem Sytnyk, the head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, during the news conference.

Kholodnitskiy and Sytnyk said the bribe was intended to encourage their offices to drop a probe into Mykola Zlochevskiy, the head of Burisma and a former minister of ecology.

Zlochevskiy is suspected of using his ministerial position for personal gain.

In a statement, Burisma said the company had nothing to do with the bribe attempt.

During a July 25 phone call, Trump urged his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, according to a transcript of the conversation.

Critics said the Trump administration withheld crucial military aid worth $391 million to Kyiv as leverage.

In January, Democrats in the House of Representatives charged Trump with abuse of office and obstruction of Congress, allegations he rejected as a political "witch-hunt."

The president was acquitted following a trial in the Senate in a vote mainly along party lines.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.

XS
SM
MD
LG