Valeriy Khoroshkovsky Appointed Deputy Head Of Ukraine’s Spy Agency

KIEV, Ukraine -- President Victor Yushchenko raised eyebrows on Jan. 28 appointing billionaire media magnate Valeriy Khoroshkovsky as deputy head of Ukraine’s spy agency, the State Security Service, or SBU, as it is commonly called.

Valeriy Khoroshkovsky’s appointment to the SBU seen as tactical move by Yushchenko in his rivalry with Tymoshenko.

The controversial appointment comes amidst a deepening rivalry between Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Both are expected to square off for the presidency later this year or in early 2010.

Khoroshkovsky, who has served as head of Ukraine’s Customs Service, claims to own one of Ukraine’s leading television channels, Inter, via a holding called U.A. Inter Media Group.

Tymoshenko identified Dmytro Firtash, the billionaire who controlled natural gas supplies to Ukraine via Swiss-registered Rosukrenergo, as a media partner of Khoroshkovsky.

Tymoshenko’s gas agreement this month removed this intermediary, which her political camp claims has been “corrupt” and funneled money to her opponents, Yushchenko and ex-premier Victor Yanukovych.

Khoroshkovsky this week admitted that Firtash has an option to buy into the Inter media group, but insisted Tymoshenko tried to buy Inter channel herself, or have it sold to other investors.

Source: Kyiv Post