After mounting criticism to his offshore business exposed by Pandora Papers and Slidstvo Info reports, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky appeared on TV for a sit-in interview Friday to claim there is ‘nothing new’ about the scathing media reports.
Zelensky admitted he used offshore companies in 2012 but brushed off allegations of involvement with money-laundering scandal that, according to the president, was made up and promoted by his political rival Petro Poroshenko in his election campaign.
Slidstvo Info was quick to respond to the latest statements from the president with its senior reporter Olena Loginova arguing, in her interview for Novoye Vremya, that they ‘still got no answers to our questions’ they lodged with Zelensky administration prior to the report publication.
She argued Zelensky dodged the issue of dividends he reportedly was getting from his front company registered in the BVI.
‘It is a company that earlier belonged to Zelensky and his wife, and it is now [solely] owned by his wife. Why don’t you say, yes, it is so, and this company keeps getting dividends? .. If you pass over your shares to another firm, you can’t keep getting [interest]. Maybe, this is why Zelensky can’t answer it’.
It is unclear if Zelensky still has offshore businesses as the president and his old business partners keep mum about it, said Loginova, adding that ‘while we are talking, they can sign some trust agreement or use some other operation, and everything will get completely reshuffled’.
Slidstvo Info reporter called on bigger transperancy from Zelensky arguing that ‘when your pals and business partners keep doing business in offshore [havens], it means you don’t trust the country where you have built your business and which you are leading’.
Loginova also challenged Zelensky’s claims it is all smear campaign ‘commissioned by Petro Poroshenko’.
‘I think the President’s Office decided to make the most of this defensive tactics, and it will probably work [for them],’ said Slidstvo Info leading reporter.