Saturday, April 27, 2013

What the hell is going on at TVi?

Good analysis from the excellent Graham Stack here

There are grave suspicions expressed by respectable journalists that 'Simya' and their operator, vice PM Serhiy Arbuzov are behind the 'raid on TVi.  [Also here ]

Yet, as Stack mentions: "Controversially, the new owner Altman is crucially backed by the channel's former CEO, prominent journalist Mikhailo Knyazhitsky, who was elected to parliament for the opposition party Batkyvschina in November 2013, as well as by chief news editor and talk-show host Vitaly Portnikov. 

Both men justify their position by saying the exact opposite to Kagalovskiy – that the new owners have actually prevented the channel from being sold to structures close to the ruling Party of Regions and the family of President Viktor Yanukovych."

Other journalists doubt whether 'Simya' are involved, and see the conflict as a battle between shady offshore owners intending to sell on TVi 'when the price is right'. Both Knyazhitsky's and Pornikov's track records are impeccable - they are amongst the most ethically sound journalists in Ukraine... so the striking TVi staff and journalists are absolutely correct in demanding total transparency and a clearing of the air by previous/new owners before returning to work.

But, imo,  the clincher that there are dirty deeds afoot? - The unannounced gangster-like manner in which the TV company's premises were raided and taken over...maybe an 'each way' bet?

p.s. Key prosecution witness, Petro Kirichenko, who now resides in the USA, was scheduled to testify in the pre-trial Yevhen Shcherban murder trial via video link, but this has been postponed until May 15 at the request of the Ukrainian consul in San Francisco. Postponement was requested and granted for unspecified 'technical reasons'.

Tymoshenko's defence team have turned the tables on Kirichenko, and now have officially contacted the US Department of Justice to investigate his possible involvement in Shcherban's murder in 1996.

He himself admitted he was personally involved in the transfer of hundreds of thousands of dollars to Dnipropetrovsk crime boss 'Matros' as alleged payment for Shcherban's killing, but claimed he did not know "the true intentions of Tymoshenko and Lazarenko," Difficult to believe, knowing Matros's notoriety..

Kirichenko is in a very tricky position. Having given many hours of evidence to US law enforcement agencies, he must be careful not to perjure himself when [if?] he testifies in the pre-trial hearing. If he does it would put him in very 'hot water' indeed in the USA. He knows well how Pavlo Lazarenko, his former boss on whom he ratted,was treated...

In November 1996, senior PoR parliamentarian, Mikhaylo Chechetov, then member of Shcherban's parliamentary faction, addressed parliament two days after Shcherban's murder. He blamed the criminal underworld for the killings, complaining that even the attempted assassination of the then PM Pavlo Lazarenko a few months previously, had not been solved.

It was clear from his statement that at that time 'Donetski' did not consider Tymoshenko in any way responsible for Shcherban's death. Until Yanukovych became president neither did anyone else...

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