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Contradiction Arises as EU Memo Contradicts Biden’s Statements Regarding Dismissal of Ukraine Prosecutor

President Joe Biden’s claim that he threatened to withhold U.S. loan guarantees to Ukraine because then-prosecutor Viktor Shokin was failing to meet anti-corruption standards appears to be at odds with a newly published European report.

Mr. Shokin served as Prosecutor General of Ukraine from 2015 to 2016 when he was fired following allegations of corruption.

His firing came roughly one month after President Biden claimed to have threatened then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to pull $1 billion in guaranteed loans to Ukraine unless Mr. Shokin was immediately removed from his position.

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Mr. Shokin was investigating the activities of the Ukrainian natural gas firm, Burisma Holdings—on which Hunter Biden sat on the board—at the time of his firing.

However, a December 2015 report (pdf) by the European Commission, a key governing body of the EU Parliament, regarding the “Implementation by Ukraine of the Action Plan on Visa Liberalisation” appears to suggest that Ukraine has largely achieved its goals for fighting corruption, organized crime, and human trafficking.

“Based on these commitments, the anti-corruption benchmark is deemed to have been achieved,” the report notes. It adds that benchmarks for preventing and fighting organized crime, money laundering, and human trafficking have also “been achieved.”

The report goes on to note various achievements made by Mr. Shokin, including establishing a specialized national anti-corruption prosecutor’s office to aid the newly formed FBI-approved investigative unit, which employed and trained roughly 100 investigators, called the National Anti-Corruption Bureau.

“On 30 November, the General Prosecutor appointed the head of the specialized anti-corruption prosecution,” the report states.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin holds a press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Nov. 2, 2015. (Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin holds a press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Nov. 2, 2015. (Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukraine Progress ‘Steady and Effective’

“The progress noted in the fifth report on anti-corruption policies, particularly the legislative and institutional progress, has continued. The adoption by the Parliament, on 8 October 2015 of legislative packages covering aspects of the report’s recommendations, is an important step forward. Civil society continued to play a key role in moving the anti-corruption agenda forward,” the report continued.

“The progress achieved by Ukraine” in areas related to the visa liberalization plan is “steady and effective,” the report notes. “The Commission considers that since then Ukraine has made the necessary progress and undertaken all the required reforms and commitments to ensure effective and sustainable achievement of the remaining benchmarks.”

“All the measures identified in the fifth progress report have been addressed in order to ensure that the legislative and policy framework, the institutional and organizational principles, and the implementation of procedures throughout the four blocks comply with European and international standards” it continues. “The Commission will continue to monitor the implementation of ongoing reforms, in

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