Cor­rupt rul­ing

Kyiv Post - - Opinion -

On Dec. 11, a Kyiv dis­trict court is­sued a strange rul­ing in the law­suit of law­maker Bo­ryslav Rozen­blat against law­maker Sergii Leshchenko and Na­tional Anti-Cor­rup­tion Bu­reau of Ukraine chief Artem Syt­nyk.

The court con­cluded that, in re­veal­ing the pres­ence of U. S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald J. Trump cam­paign chair Paul Manafort’s name in the Party of Re­gions’ so-called “black ledger” of il­le­gal cash pay­ments, both Leshchenko and Syt­nyk had bro­ken the law. The court also clas­si­fied this dis­clo­sure as in­ter­fer­ence in the U.S. 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

First, why is a court is­su­ing a con­clu­sion about elec­tion in­ter­fer­ence? This gra­tu­itous state­ment is dam­ag­ing both to Ukraine’s in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion and re­la­tions with Wash­ing­ton.

Sec­ond, why was a dis­trict court rul­ing in an in­her­ently po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated case ques­tion­ing the le­gal­ity of re­veal­ing cor­rup­tion? Rozen­blat has a long­stand­ing grudge with the Na­tional Anti-Cor­rup­tion Bu­reau of Ukraine and is em­broiled in cor­rup­tion scan­dals. Mean­while, Leshchenko and Syt­nyk are among the fore­most cor­rup­tion fight­ers in the coun­try. By pub­lish­ing the black ledger, they re­vealed that Manafort po­ten­tially re­ceived over $12 mil­lion stolen from Ukrainian tax­pay­ers for his con­sult­ing ser­vices.

Leshchenko per­sua­sively sug­gested that the rul­ing may con­sti­tute an ef­fort by the Pres­i­den­tial Ad­min­is­tra­tion to dis­credit and even­tu­ally re­move Syt­nyk. It reeks of pol­i­tics ahead of the March 31 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

The real ques­tion is why, nearly five years af­ter the EuroMaidan Rev­o­lu­tion drove Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych from of­fice, no charges have yet been filed against Manafort, who white­washed Yanukovych’s filthy rep­utaiton. We would like to see Manafort — or any­body sig­nif­i­cant — pros­e­cuted for cor­rup­tion in Ukraine. It's never hap­pened. That's a court rul­ing we'd love to see.

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