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Panama Papers: Ukrainian President Poroshenko Denied Accusations of Tax Evasion

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(Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) KIEV, UKRAINE - MAY 26: Ukrainian's President Elect Petro Poroshenko, speaks to the media during a press conference on May 26, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. Although the official results are expected on late Monday, Mr Poroshenko, a confectionery tycoon known as the 'Chocolate King' is expected to secure the countries Presidency after exit polls suggest the he had secured around 56% of the vote.
Petro Poroshenko Press Conference
April 6
5:16 AM 2016

The leaked documents from a law firm in Panama's internal database link thousands of rich and powerful individuals to offshore money trails. One of the high-profile political figure listed in the document, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, has been under investigation over allegations of tax evasion using an offshore firm. However, he already denied such accusations.

President Poroshenko has been under attack after the leak of confidential documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca. The documents suggest that he had registered an offshore firm to avoid tax. He has been under investigation over the allegations in connection to the Panama Papers leak.

According to BBC, President Poroshenko was accused to have set up a company in the British Virgin Islands in August 2014, when he was already president. The company, called Prime Assets Partners, describes itself as a holding company of the Roshen confectionery group. Before elected as the president of Argentina in 2014, he has a business empire where he earned the nickname "Chocolate King."

Although the Mossack Fonseca firm claims that it did nothing illegal, President Poroshenko was accused to have acted illegally by starting a new company while president, and not reporting it on his disclosure statements. During his presidential campaign in 2014, he vowed to sell most of his business assets. In his official Twitter account, President Poroshenko revealed, "I believe I might be the first top official in Ukraine who treats declaring of assets, paying taxes, conflict of interest issues seriously."

Furthermore, President Poroshenko explained that instead of managing the assets himself, he has been handling duties to consulting and law firms, as reported by Chicago Tribune. The president claimed to has not been managing the assets including confectionery company Roshen since he became president.

The law firm managing the sale of Roshen, Avellum Partners, said that the offshore firm was set up without violating any Ukrainian law. Avellum stated, as quoted by Reuters, "The creation of a foreign structure does not affect the tax liabilities of the Roshen group in the Ukraine, which continues to pay taxes," the firm said in an emailed statement. "Any allegations of tax evasion are groundless."

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has denied any wrongdoing in form of tax evasion practices in connection to an offshore company linked to him in the Panama Papers leaked documents. He claimed to have appointed consulting and law firms to manage the assets in question, as the law firm claimed to not violate any Ukrainian law and that the firm is paying its taxes accordingly. 

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