State Fiscal Service of Ukraine will verify the information about the establishment by President of Ukraine in 2014 of the company on British Virgin Islands, State Fiscal Service Head Roman Nasirov.
"Yesterday I instructed the department of individuals to verify the info [about offshore companies]," he said at a press conference in Kyiv on Tuesday.
As reported, Poroshenko after inauguration as president of Ukraine stated about his intention to sell all assets and for this purpose he hired Rothschild и ICU investment companies. However, due to no potential buyers on January 14, 2016 he said he signed contract, according to which he transferred his stake in Roshen Corporation to an independent "blind" trust."
According to an investigation by Ukrainian journalist Anna Babinets as part of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which was made public on the Hromadske TV channel, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko did not mention in his declaration of income, expenses and financial obligations for 2014 that he had established a company in the British Virgin Islands.
When asked why this company was not included into Poroshenko's income declaration, Makar Paseniuk, managing director of ICU investment company and authorized by the Ukrainian presidential administration to communicate with media in the matters related to Poroshenko's business affairs, said the shares of the Prime Asset Partners Limited have no par value. In accordance with the requirements for the declaration of incomes and property as of 2014, only the shares which had some nominal value needed to be included in the declaration, he added.
However, the documents obtained by OCCRP show that starting from the registration date of August 21, 2014, Prime Asset Partners Ltd.'s shares had a total value of $1,000 and Poroshenko was listed as the sole shareholder. However, in his declaration for 2014, the president left a blank space in the section 'contributions to the charter capital of the company, including those abroad.'
Meanwhile, Paseniuk said that there was more than one offshore company.
"Prime Asset Partners Limited was founded in the summer of 2014 in the course of corporate restructuring, which was a preparatory stage for the further sale of the Roshen Group. After its establishment, the company has not carried out any activities other than those mentioned below. In the fall of 2014, Prime Asset Partners Limited established CEE Confectionery Investments Limited in Cyprus, which in turn founded the Roshen Europe BV company in the Netherlands," the report says.
Poroshenko's legal advisers justify the creation of such a group of companies by the president. They say this was done "in keeping with the market practice in Ukraine for the companies which are to be sold to strategic investors."
Creating companies in a foreign jurisdiction was the only possible way to pass the assets of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to a reputable international trust structure for management, the Avellum law firm, a legal advisor to Poroshenko, has stated.
Read also: Roshen's confectionary factory in Russia could be sold soon - ICU investment company
"Companies in foreign jurisdictions are necessary and used for transfer to blind trust. These companies did not open bank accounts and they did not make any financial transactions. Therefore any allegations of tax evasion are groundless," reads a press release from Avellum, issued on the request of the client in connection with the journalistic investigation made public on April 3.
The law firm specified Poroshenko authorized it to prepare his stake in Roshen confectionery corporation for the sale of business, and in future for transfer to a blind trust.
"Relevant agreements were signed, which authorize us, ICU investment group and foreign legal advisers we attracted in future to carry out all actions necessary for the transfer of the asset to the blind trust in full accordance with Ukrainian law and the laws of other countries," read the statement.
According to editor for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Program Drew Sullivan, the information about Poroshenko's offshore companies are part of the Panama Papers, which are the documents obtained from a Panama-based offshore services provider.
Roshen Corporation includes confectionery factories in Kyiv, Kremenchuk and Vinnytsia, and the dairy producer Bershadmoloko. It also runs confectionary facilities in Klaipeda (Lithuania), Lipetsk ( Russia), and Bonbonetti Choco (Hungary).