KIEV, Ukraine — A former top Ukrainian prosecutor, whose allegations were at the heart of the dirt-digging effort by Rudy Giuliani, said Thursday he believed that Hunter Biden did not run afoul of any laws in Ukraine.
“From the perspective of Ukrainian legislation, he did not violate anything,” former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko told The Washington Post in his first interview since the disclosure of a whistleblower complaint alleging pressure by Trump on Ukraine’s president, Volodymr Zelensky.
Lutsenko’s comments about Hunter Biden — which echo what he told Bloomberg News in May — were significant because President Donald Trump and his personal attorney Giuliani have sought to stir up suspicions about both Hunter and former vice president Joe Biden’s conduct in Ukraine in recent weeks. Joe Biden is leading Trump in many opinion polls ahead of the 2020 election.
Lutsenko has been an elusive figure in recent weeks since stepping down from office in late August, but his conversations with Giuliani figure highly in both Giuliani’s own allegations about corruption in Ukraine and in the whistleblower complaint that was declassified Thursday.
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son,” Trump told Zelensky in a July 25 phone call, a rough transcript of which was released Wednesday.
Trump went on to tell Zelensky to be in touch with Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr and suggested that U.S. investigators could assist the Ukrainians to look into any wrongdoing.
But Lutsenko said he was not aware of any U.S. law enforcement officials coming to Ukraine to assist in any such probes while he was in office.
“No American groups came to Ukraine for an investigation” during Lutsenko’s tenure from May 2016 until late August.
Giuliani has alleged that Hunter Biden was involved in corruption during his nearly five years on the board of Burisma, Ukraine’s largest private gas company.
Giuliani has not offered any evidence. Burisma’s owner came under scrutiny by Lutsenko’s predecessors for possible abuse of power and unlawful enrichment, but Hunter Biden was never accused of any wrongdoing in the investigation.
As vice president, Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire Lutsenko’s predecessor, Viktor Shokin, who Biden and other Western officials said was not sufficiently pursuing corruption cases. At the time, the investigation into Burisma was dormant, according to former Ukrainian and U.S. officials.
“Hunter Biden cannot be responsible for violations of the management of Burisma that took place two years before his arrival,” Lutsenko said.
Washington Post writer Natalie Gryvnyak contributed to this report.