Poland deportee could face charges of treason in Ukraine: reports

Ukrainian activist Lyudmila Kozlovska, head of the Polish Open Dialogue foundation. Photo: PAP/Rafał Guz

According to Ukrainian website StopCor, the Ukrainian-born activist Lyudmyla Kozlovska, who has been blacklisted from the Schengen zone by Polish security services, may now be facing serious charges back in her native country, including fraud and treason.

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Based on information gleaned from Ukraine’s security services, the StopCor website, maintained by an anti-corruption NGO, has revealed that Ms Kozlovska, the head of the controversial Polish foundation known as Open Dialogue, is being looked into by the Security Service of Ukraine in connection with suspicions of criminal acts such as treason, sedition as well as large-scale fraud.

According to the website, the investigators working for the SBU have come into possession of recorded phone conversations between her and her Polish husband, Bartosz Kramek, as well as evidence of suspect bank transfers.

Suspect ties

The website also alleges that Ms Kozlovska has strong ties with Kazakh entrepreneur and businessman Mukhtar Ablyazov. Listed as a “political refugee” and “opposition activist” on the Open Dialogue foundation website, Mr Ablyazov is accused of embezzling around USD 6 million during his time serving as the chairman of BTA Bank.

StopKor reported that Ms Kozlovska now resides at a hotel in Kiev, accompanied during her rare outings by bodyguards allegedly employed by Mr Ablyazov. The authors of the report also suggested that the NGO activist may have developed an intimate relationship with the disgraced banker.

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The Russian connection

Earlier, another Ukrainian website antikor.com.ua published a report suggesting that Ms Kozlovska might be a Russian “sleeper agent” tasked with causing instability in the region of Central and Eastern Europe.

According to the report, Ms Kozlovska, born in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, cooperated with Russian security services and received a Russian passport following the peninsula’s annexation in 2014 – a fact which she has vehemently denied. One of her family members who provided funding for the foundation was also alleged to have ties with the Russian arms industry. The report went on to claim that Ukrainian law enforcement agencies were looking into the possible involvement of the NGO activist in various crimes, including the financing of terrorist activities.

Blacklisted, but still here

On August 14, Ms Kozlovska was deported to Kiev after an official alert was released by Polish authorities using the Schengen Information System (SIS). Arguing that there were “serious doubts” as to Ms Kozlovska’s Open Dialogue foundation, including possible Russian funding, the Polish Internal Security Agency sought to ban the activist from both Poland and the EU. She was later issued temporary visas by Germany, Belgium and the UK, where she appeared at various events, focusing mostly on blasting Poland’s government for alleged violations of the rule of law.

The Open Dialogue Foundation and one of its board members, Ms Kozlovska’s husband Bartosz Kramek, first became widely known in Poland following involvement with domestic political protests against the conservative ruling Law and Justice (PiS) government. Mr Kramek famously published a guide to protest calling for a “government shutdown” by exerting pressure through various forms of civil disobedience.

To this day, many opposition leaders continue to side with Ms Kozlovska in her conflict with Poland’s government, while Ms Kozlovska herself has frequently appeared wearing Polish opposition insignia and accusing the ruling party of human rights violations and using “Russian-style” propaganda against its opponents.

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