"Schemes" discovered that the retired judge of the Civil Court of Cassation within the Supreme Court, Valentyna Simonenko, has a Russian passport

Читати українською.

As reported by "Schemes" journalists, Valentyna Simonenko, a former judge from the Civil Court of Cassation within the Supreme Court, possesses a Russian passport and is currently enjoying an honourable retirement. Starting from April 2023, she receives a monthly sum of approximately UAH 200,000.

  • Simonenko acquired Russian citizenship in 2003, though her Russian passport is now considered invalid due to its expiration. After the annexation of Crimea, she obtained an individual tax number from the Russian Federation through the Interdistrict Inspection of the Federal Tax Service No. 1 in Sevastopol. These facts were discovered by the Public Integrity Council in 2017 and were repeatedly highlighted by experts from DEJURE Foundation. Activists even staged protests at the President's Administration in opposition to her appointment to the Supreme Court.
  • The judge did not deny the existence of her Russian individual tax number and made various attempts to justify its acquisition. Nonetheless, there are valid reasons to assert that the unlawfully established Russian authorities in the temporarily occupied territory could not have independently obtained information about the number and series of the passport issued to V. Simonenko in June 2015.
  • Furthermore, the judge made multiple trips to the occupied Crimea and attempted to conceal her assets and information related to illegal enrichment. In her 2015 electronic declaration, Simonenko failed to declare several businesses owned by her then-husband, Serhii Oleksandrovych Simonenko.

Despite these controversies, President Poroshenko appointed Valentyna Simonenko as a judge of the Supreme Court in 2018.

  • In January 2023, Judge Simonenko submitted her request for an honourable retirement with a lifetime allowance. The High Council of Justice supported her application, citing her relevant experience as a judge. According to the "On the Judiciary and the Status of Judges" law, such payments can be revoked by the HCJ for several reasons, including a judge voluntarily obtaining citizenship in another country. Consequently, the matter is currently under consideration by the HCJ and the Presidential Commission on Citizenship.
  • Meanwhile, it remains unclear how the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) overlooked Simonenko's possession of a Russian passport during their inspection of all Supreme Court judges, despite the repeated emphasis by DEJURE Foundation. In response to inquiries, the SBU has simply stated that a verification is underway. As of now, a judge with a Russian passport continues to rely on the financial support of Ukrainian taxpayers.

As for the Supreme Court, its renewal is long overdue. The reform model is described here.