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Serhiy Leshchenko (Ukrainian: Сергій Анатолійович Лещенко) is a Ukrainian journalist, politician and public figure, Member of Parliament (8th Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada). A member of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Corruption Prevention and Counteraction. From 2002 until 2014 Serhiy was working as a Deputy Editor-in-Chief and as a special correspondent for Ukrayinska Pravda online newspaper.
|Member of Parliament|
for Petro Poroshenko Bloc
27 November 2014 – 24 July 2019
|Born||August 30, 1980|
Kyiv, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
|Political party||Democratic Alliance|
|Petro Poroshenko Bloc (until August 2016)|
|Alma mater||Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv|
Leland Stanford Junior University
|Occupation||publicist; journalist of Ukrayinska Pravda|
In 2003 he graduated the Institute of Journalism at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. His career in journalism begun in 2000 after the probation at the news program Reporter on the Novyi Kanal channel chaired by Andriy Shevchenko. In September 2000 he became a correspondent of the online version of Ukrayinska Pravda. He was continuing working at the regional news department on the “Novyi Kanal” until Spring 2001 while working for Ukrayinska Pravda. In March 2001 he quit working for the Novyi Kanal. In 2002 he became deputy editor-in-chief of the Ukrayinska Pravda. Serhiy is famous for his investigative journalism on corruption in Ukrainian politics. In 2010 he joined the movement “Stop Tsenzuri!” (“Stop Censorship!”) aimed for the protection of free speech, prevention of censorship and obstruction of journalism in Ukraine.
In 2012 Serhiy joined a civil movement “Chesno” aimed for transparency and accountability control of the government officials. In 2012 was studying in the Great Britain as a part of the scholarship program of John Smith Fellowship. In 2013-2014 undertook an internship at the NED in Washington, USA within the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program. In 2013 he took part in the Draper Hills Summer Fellowship at the Stanford university, USA.
In 2014 was elected a people's deputy to 8th Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada with the party Petro Poroshenko Bloc “Solidarity”. Serhiy chaired a subcommittee on International Partnership and Anticorruption Law Implementation as part of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Corruption Prevention and Counteraction.
From 2015 until 2016 Serhiy Leschenko was lecturing journalism at the Ukrainian Catholic University (Lviv) and delivering a course of lectures on anticorruption at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (Kiev).
In June 2013 he published a documentary book the “American saga of Pavlo Lazarenko” based on the US law enforcement agencies’ investigation materials. After the Euromaidan Leschenko wrote another book the “Mezhyhirya Syndrome. Diagnoses of Viktor Yanukovych Ruling”, which was published in September 2014.
Since 2017, Leschenko has his video blogs live on channel “24”, where he talks about the current political situation in Ukraine, opens up his political activity and presents the agenda of the modern reformists. Since September 2018, on the same "24", Leschenko presents the political talk show "What was this" with journalist Yevgeniya Motorevska.
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On 27 November 2014, Serhiy Leschenko became a people's deputy of the 8th convocation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. He was elected as a member of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc “Solidarity” party's list (No 19). In the Ukrainian parliament, he became a member of the Committee on preventing and combating corruption. Leschenko became a member of the Interfactional union "Eurooptimists".
In 2015 Leschenko became a co-author of the law project “The changes to be made to certain legislation acts of Ukraine about preventing and counteracting corruption”. The law foresees a decrease in the risks of political corruption due to complex changes to Ukrainian legislation in the sphere of political parties and pre-election agitation direct financing that increases parties’ financial dependency. The law was a part of the “visa free package” laws, necessary for the liberalization of visa free regime for Ukraine.
On 26 November 2015, Leschenko presented the documents that he believed had justified the criminal case in Switzerland on bribery and money laundering. The case was begun against then people's deputy from the “People's Front” party Mykola Martynenko. Due to the data provided, Mykola Martynenko was under investigation.
In fall 2017 together with other people's deputies and civil society representatives he held an agitation campaign in support of “Vseukrayinskyi zbir” initiative, which had its focus on “a large political reform”. The main points of the reform were a creation of an anticorruption court, abolition of deputies’ immunity, a switch to a proportional representation election system with open lists. Serhiy advocates for putting a limit on pre-electoral agitation campaigns on television, which will increase the candidates’ ability to compete.
In 2017 Leschenko publicly disclosed the case of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko not receiving members of the public though it was foresees by legislation. This caused the Prosecutor General to start receiving members of the public.
After election to the Verkhovna Rada, Leschenko gradually began to criticize the Petro Poroshenko Bloc (PPB) more and more and stopped voting in sync with it. According to deputy head of the PPB faction Oleksiy Honcharenko by February 2019 he had not attended PPB faction meetings for several years. On 28 February 2019, Leschenko voluntarily left the Petro Poroshenko Bloc “Solidarity” faction.
On 29 May 2019 Leschenko stated he wanted to take part in the July 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election for the party Servant of the People but this party assured on 7 June 2019 that no incumbent MPs would be on its party list for the 2019 parliamentary election. Instead Leschenko tried to win back his seat in the 220th electoral district in Kiev. But he failed to do this taking third place with 11.98% (7,775 votes), the Servant of the People candidate Hanna Bondar won the district with 37%.
The real estate scandalEdit
On 6 September 2016, a group of deputies of the Verkhovna Rada appealed to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) with a request to check the purchase of Serhiy Leshchenko of an apartment of 192 m² in a new building on Ivan Franko Street in the center of Kiev. At that time, the cost of the apartment was UAH 12.864 million (USD 480 thousand). Other sources say that the apartment is worth UAH 7.5 million. According to Leshchenko, half of the amount was borrowed from the chief editor of the Ukrayinska Pravda Olena Prytula, in the form of an interest-free cash loan for 10 years, the rest was personal funds of Leshchenko and his girlfriend, famous Ukrainian DJ Anastasiya Topolska. This apartment purchase has caused a great public outcry. Criticism has undergone both the fact of luxury purchasing, as well as sources of financing.
On 19 September 2016, NABU reported an administrative violation with signs of corruption in the Leshchenko case: Pritula's loan could be qualified as a gift, and its receipt contradicts the Ukrainian anti-corruption legislation (restriction on the receipt of gifts by deputies). In addition, USD 77 thousand were spent from the deposits of Serhiy Leshchenko's mother, which wasn't stated in the deputy's declaration as his own funds.
On 15 February 2017, Pechersky District Court of Kiev closed an administrative case, not finding corpus delicti in Leshchenko's actions. Judge Volodymyr Karabanʹ, who made the court decision, together with his family members, was repeatedly involved in scandals.
Fight at the Verkhovna RadaEdit
On 9 February 2017, people's deputy from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction Ivan Melnychuk started a verbal dispute with Serhiy Leschenko in the session hall of the Verkhovna Rada. The dispute started over a Facebook post written by Leschenko, where he claims deputies from PPB faction are purposely deteriorating the anticorruption committee meetings so that they can accuse the committee in being a failure later. Ivan Melnychuk used physical force and damaged Serhiy's suit.
Case of Paul ManafortEdit
In August 2016, Serhiy Leshchenko announced that the Party of Regions, shortly before Viktor Yanukovych’s election as the President of Ukraine, paid to the American political consultant Paul Manafort for his services. According to Leshchenko, the expenses of Ukraine related to his activities exceeded $ 12 million. In February 2017, correspondence between allegedly Leshchenko and Paul Manafort's daughter Jess appeared on the Internet. This correspondence, posted by anonymous hackers in English with grammatical errors, was perceived by one Russian media outlet as blackmail.
Manafort confirmed the authenticity of the texts hacked from his daughter’s phone. He added that he had received similar texts to his own phone number from the same address appearing to be affiliated with Leshchenko. He also said he did not respond directly to those letters, but resend them to his lawyer. Manafort refused to show these messages to journalists.
In March 2017, Leshchenko surrendered to the NABU documents that, presumably, could prove Manafort’s involvement in offshore schemes. These documents showed a $750,000 payment for the supply of 501 computers to a company David Manafort, from a Belize-registered offshore company, through a bank in Kyrgyzstan. Leshchenko urged to begin an investigation of this situation both in Ukraine and in the USA. In March 2019, Manafort "was convicted on eight criminal counts including bank fraud, tax fraud and failing to file a foreign bank account report." Together with the court sentence of 2018, the total sentence of Manafort was 7.5 years.
On 10 May 2019, 107th Mayor of New York City and attorney to US President Donald Trump, Rudolf Giuliani, announced that he had hoped to meet in Kiev with Ukrainian president-elect, Volodymyr Zelensky. They planned to discuss foreign countries interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as well as the involvement of Hunter Biden (son of 47th vice president of the United States Joe Biden) at Burisma, a gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky. However, the next day Giuliani canceled his trip. Giuliani said that there are enemies of the US President in the election headquarters of Zelensky. “I’m not going to go because I think I’m walking into a group of people that are enemies of the president, in some cases, enemies of the United States. And in one case already convicted person who has found to be involved in assisting of the Democrats in the 2016 elections... Gentleman by the name of Leschenko who supplied a Blackbook,” said Giuliani in an interview with Fox News. At around this time the Zelensky administration (whom Leshchenko had been advising) started to distance itself from Leshchenko reportedly because of concerns about being seen as too close to him while he was attracting criticism from Giuliani.
Leshchenko said that the Prosecutor General, Yuriy Lutsenko, was to blame for the scandalous situation, he rejected the accusation of forging "black bookkeeping" materials. In response, Lutsenko said that “Leshchenko, often on a not-free-of-charge basis from the US Embassy in Ukraine kicked up a row this scandal, trying to help one of the presidential candidates in 2016” and he called Leshchenko a "political skunk".
Fight on televisionEdit
After being live on the “Newsone” channel Ihor Mosiychuk accused Leschenko of discrediting Oleh Lyashko, who was leading one if the parliaments’ parities. The quarrel outgrew into a fight. (In the 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election Lyashko lost his parliamentary seat.)
2004 – runner up of the “Best journalist investigation - 2004” (partners’ project of the institute of media, French Embassy in Ukraine and the Mohyla School of Journalism).
2006 - winner of the Oleksandr Kryvenko award.
2006 - winner in nomination “ Person of the year in printed media area” as a part of the national program “Person of the Year”.
2006 - “Person of the year” in the “Leaders of Ukrainian Internet”contest, organized by the internet.us magazine.
2011- eastern partnership journalist award from the fundacija reporterow organization for the article-investigation “Offshore roof for Yanukovych and Kliuev”.
2013 - Gerd Bucerius Free Press for Eastern Europe Award.
2013 - 55 place in the “Korrespondent” magazine list of 100 most influential people of Ukraine.
2014 - one of a “100 heroes of information”, first released by the “Reporters Without Borders” organization
2014 - one of a TOP-100 bloggers of Ukraine according to “Fakty” ICTV.
- CEC registers 357 newly elected deputies of 422 Archived 2014-11-26 at the Wayback Machine, National Radio Company of Ukraine (25 November 2014)
Parliament to form leadership and coalition on November 27, UNIAN (26 November 2014)
- Serhiy Leshchenko rsf.org
- "Сергій Лещенко став викладачем Школи журналістики УКУ" (in Ukrainian). UCU Journalism School. 16 February 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
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- Сергей Лещенко: на пути от «комфортной» журналистики к парламентскому «диггерству» (in Russian). facenews.ua. 6 October 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
- (in Ukrainian) Occupation of the TV: Why do politicians become TV presenter, Ukrayinska Pravda (12 February 2019)
- Состав комитетов Рады: Савченко будет работать на нацбезопасность, а Чепинога - на экологию. Ukrayinska Pravda (in Russian). 4 December 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
- Denys Rafalskiy (16 February 2019). «Мы же не шнурки какие-то». Как еврооптимисты создают сразу несколько проектов под парламентские выборы (in Russian). Strana.ua. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
- Iryna Stelʹmakh (9 October 2015). "80 копійок на місяць з кожного – українці співфінансуватимуть політичні партії" (in Ukrainian). Radio Liberty. Retrieved 23 May 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Рада ввела финансирование партий из госбюджета (обновлено) (in Russian). Livyy bereh. 8 October 2015. Retrieved 23 May 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Лещенко требует от Шокина инициировать снятие неприкосновенности с Мартыненко (in Russian). Dzerkalo Tyzhnia. 26 November 2015. Retrieved 23 May 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Лещенко: Луценко снова не пришел на личный прием граждан. Вчера он неожиданно оформил отпуск (in Russian). Gordonua.com. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
- Луценко поставил себя выше закона, плюнув в лицо обществу - нардеп от БПП (in Russian). RIA Novosti Ukraine. 25 November 2017. Retrieved 23 May 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- (in Ukrainian) Leshchenko, Naim and Zalishchuk leave the BPP. Why now and what's next?, BBC Ukrainian (28 February 2019)
Three MPs intend to leave BPP parliamentary faction, Ukrinform (28 February 2019)
- "Biden probe was condition for Trump-Zelenskiy phone call: Ukrainian adviser". ABC News. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
- (in Ukrainian) https://m.glavcom.ua/country/society/leshchenka-ne-vzyali-u-spisok-partiji-sluga-narodu-600253.html
- (in Ukrainian) https://m.glavcom.ua/kyiv/publications/mamahohotala-kogo-sluga-narodu-vidpraviv-na-mazhoritarku-u-kijevi-ta-oblasti-604497.html
- Новая квартира Лещенко: карма, травля и #позор (in Russian). BBC. 7 September 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Лещенко купил огромную квартиру в элитном новострое в Киеве (in Russian). Strana.ua. 6 September 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
- Лещенко купил огромную квартиру в центре Киева (in Russian). Korrespondent.net. 6 September 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
- Zoya Mylovanova, Dmytro Boyko, Vasylʹ Yurmanovich (14 September 2016). Квартира Лещенко: юридический анализ громкого скандала (in Russian). Liga.net. Retrieved 24 May 2019.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Квартира Лещенко: НАБУ нашло признаки коррупции (in Russian). BBC. 19 September 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Суд закрыл «квартирное дело» Лещенко. Ukrayinska Pravda (in Russian). 15 February 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
- Судейская династия Карабань владеет огромной квартирой в центре Киева и принимает дорогие подарки (in Russian). Kievvlast. 21 January 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Журналист Гнап: Судья Карабань не позволил арестовать счета жены судьи Емельянова в Лихтенштейне с 13 млн франков (in Russian). Gordonua.com. 18 March 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
- У династії київських суддів виявили елітні хороми і «подарунки» на мільйони доларів (in Ukrainian). Obozrevatel. 20 January 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- В Раде подрались депутаты Лещенко и Мельничук (in Russian). Dzerkalo Tyzhnia. 9 February 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Лещенко и Мельничук подрались в Раде, у первого - порванный пиджак (фото, видео) (in Russian). UNIAN. 9 February 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- В Раде подрались Лещенко и Мельничук (видео) (in Russian). 1+1/TSN. 9 February 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- "Лещенко сообщил, что деньги для Манафорта из "чёрной бухгалтерии" Партии регионов получал экс-нардеп Калюжный" (in Russian). gordonua.com. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
- "В сеть слили переписку Лещенко с дочерью Манафорта" (in Russian). Korrespondent.net. 21 February 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
- "Manafort faced blackmail attempt, hacks suggest". Politico. 23 February 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- "Trump's ex aide Paul Manafort 'hid' $750,000 payment". BBC. 22 March 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
- "Лещенко передал НАБУ документы по Манафорту" (in Russian). BBC. 22 March 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
- "Лещенко узнал, как Янукович оплачивал услуги Манафорта". Ukrayinska Pravda (in Russian). 21 March 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
- Kevin Breuninger (13 March 2019). "Paul Manafort gets additional 43 months in second Mueller sentence after ex-Trump campaign boss says he's 'sorry'". CNBC. Retrieved 27 June 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Kenneth P. Vogel (11 May 2019). "Rudy Giuliani Cancels His Trip to Ukraine, Blaming Democrats' 'Spin'". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
- Aaron Blake (11 May 2019). "After backlash, Giuliani cancels Ukraine trip meant to 'meddle' in investigations to help Trump". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
- Samantha Vinograd (11 May 2019). "Giuliani sets a low bar with his Ukraine trip". CNN. Retrieved 27 June 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Paul Steinhauser (13 May 2019). "Biden calls Giuliani's now-canceled Ukraine trip 'inappropriate'". Fox News. Retrieved 27 June 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Khrystyna Berdynsʹkykh (18 May 2019). "Почти Украинагейт. Как Луценко и Джулиани вовлекли Киев в американский политический скандал" (in Russian). NV.ua. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
- "Личный адвокат Трампа назвал среди врагов президента США украинского нардепа Лещенко" (in Russian). Interfax-Ukraine. 11 May 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- "Луценко назвал Лещенко "политическим скунсом" и заявил, что ему, вероятно, вручат подозрение" (in Russian). Gordonua.com. 14 May 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
- "За что Луценко обозвал Лещенко "политическим скунсом"?" (in Russian). 2000.ua. 14 May 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
- "Луценко назвав Лещенка "політичним скунсом", якому світить підозра за розкриття даних" (in Ukrainian). ZIK TV. 14 May 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: