Ukraine’s prime minister QUITS amid corruption crisis engulfing nation as President ‘is named in leaked Panama Papers
Of all the former Soviet states, Ukraine will likely see the greatest fallout from the Panama Papers, which allege that President Petro Poroshenko holds accounts offshore. In response to the revelations, Ukrainian politicians are already calling for an investigation into Poroshenko’s hidden funds. The head of the Radical Party has even pushed for the president’s impeachment. But Ukraine’s Office of the Prosecutor General said the papers contain no evidence that Poroshenko committed any crimes. For his part, Poroshenko has gone on the defensive. In a string of tweets, the president called himself the first of Ukraine’s leaders to take corruption seriously. At the same time, he has skirted the issue of his culpability, claiming that he handed management of his assets over to a consulting firm upon taking office.
The papers’ publication came at an inconvenient time for Poroshenko. Over the past week, the president had been close to a deal on a parliamentary coalition between his party, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front and a group of independent lawmakers. In light of the scandal, Poroshenko’s faction now believes the deal may not come through after all. Poroshenko had been lobbying for the new government, a prerequisite for Ukraine to receive its next tranche of money from the International Monetary Fund and increased financial assistance from the United States. Poroshenko’s mention in the Panama Papers could not only further destabilize the fragile government, but it may also weaken the president’s rule.