KIEV (Reuters) - The wealth management arm of Rothschild Group set up a trust it handles for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in line with international standards for the treatment of assets of politicians in office, the company said on Thursday.
Poroshenko has had to defend himself repeatedly against accusations he tried to evade tax after the “Panama Papers” data leak on Sunday showed he had placed his Roshen confectionary business assets in an offshore account.
Rothschild said Poroshenko had appointed it as a trustee of a blind trust to hold his shares in Roshen.
“The trust has been modeled on international standards for politicians requiring trusts to hold their assets while they are in office,” it said in emailed comments.
On Monday, Poroshenko’s financial and legal team said the offshore company did not violate Ukrainian law. It was set up offshore as part of the process of establishing the Rothschild trust - needed to avoid a conflict of interest, they said.
Nevertheless some Ukrainian lawmakers have said the scandal influenced Dutch voters’ resounding rejection of a Ukraine-EU treaty in a referendum on closer political and economic ties.
It could also further delay attempts by Poroshenko’s faction to form a new coalition next week.
Political deadlock and stalled reform efforts have derailed a critical $40 billion international bailout program and raised concerns among Ukraine’s Western backers that leaders in Kiev lack the political will to enact the changes they promised in the wake of the 2013-14 Maidan street protests.
Reporting by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Mark Heinrich