Was the wife of a former Burisma co-owner found dead after she had offered to disclose the firm's secrets she had accessed as an accountant? No, that's not true: According to her attorney, the woman is alive and well as of June 19, 2023, and she didn't work as an accountant for the company in question.
Burisma Energy Accountant, Who Blew Whistle on Biden Bribery Scheme, Found Dead
The piece opened:
The chief accountant at Ukraine's Burisma Energy, who offered to provide US authorities with damning evidence regarding financial crimes involving Joe and Hunter Biden, has been found dead before she could testify.
The Burisma whistleblower, who has been identified as the wife of the former Burisma owner Mykola Lisin, who also died in suspicious circumstances during the years of the Obama administration when vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter were active in Ukraine.
This is how it appeared at the time of writing:
(Source: The People's Voice screenshot taken on Mon Jul 19 14:49:19 2023 UTC)
The article cited former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, linking it to his interview aired on Newsmax on June 10, 2023. However, the interview transcript did not make the same specific claim about the woman's purported death -- the interview was published under a much broader title stating that Giuliani suggested that "DOJ overlooked Evidence of Biden Bribery."
Here is what he said at the 2:13 mark:
They followed up on none of the evidence I gave them. They were hoping that people would disappear or die. It's extraordinary. I gave them one witness that any investigator would jump through hoops to go to, gave them the witness, a witness who is a woman who was the chief accountant, that this crooked company Burisma. She was the wife of the former owner who died under suspicious circumstances. And she was willing to give up all of the offshore bank accounts, including the Biden's and she supervised the transfer of a lot more cash to the Bidens and other crooked politicians.
After specifying that the alleged transfer of information took place in January 2020, Giuliani continued at the 3:24 mark:
The woman was under threat of death.
Yet, the former Trump attorney never explicitly stated that the person in question had died. Moreover, his choice of words -- "the wife of the former owner who died under suspicious circumstances" -- added to the ambiguity of their meaning, raising a question of whether Giuliani meant the woman's alleged passing at all, or only the death of her husband.
Lead Stories reached out to Giuliani's legal representatives to clarify the intended meaning of his words. When we get a response, the story will be updated as appropriate.
Nikolay (or Mykola) Lisin was a Ukrainian lawmaker affiliated with the pro-Russian Party of Regions at the time of his death in a Lamborghini crash in 2011, years before Donald Trump became president or Giuliani, according to his own words, offered the Department of Justice some materials allegedly corroborating his claims.
[Note: Spelling of names can vary between Ukrainian, Russian and English.]
Lisin had close business ties with his friend and classmate, former Ukrainian Minister of Environment Nikolay Zlochevskyy. Starting from the early 1990s, together they were engaged in the transit of oil and petroleum products.
In 2009, according to a U.S. Security and Exchange Commission filing, Burisma Holdings Ltd., a Cyprus-registered firm operating in the field of natural resources in Ukraine, was "equally owned by Messrs. Lisin and Zlochewsky, citizens of Ukraine."
Neither Giuliani, nor multiple websites that republished the claim, made any mentions of the critical details of the supposed event such as the name of Lisin's wife or the place and the date of her purported death.
Lead Stories, however, did identify the woman as Marina Lisina. Between 2013 and 2014, Ukrainian media extensively covered the kidnapping of Lisin's son Mykyta and the following criminal case, and one of the reports mentioned the full name of Lisin's wife -- Marina Lisina -- who was also the mother of the abducted son who later returned home.
Lead Stories reached out to "Petro Boyko and Partners," a Kyiv-based law firm that represented Marina Lisina at the time. Petro Boyko, a senior partner at the firm, confirmed the full name of Lisin's wife and told Lead Stories in a Facebook Messenger communication on June 19, 2023, that the claim was false:
Maryna is alive and well, feeling good on her vacation in Greece [translated from Ukrainian by Lead Stories].
She has never been an accountant [translated from Ukrainian by Lead Stories].
Boyko additionally checked Viber voice and messaging platform and said that, as of his conversation with Lead Stories, the last time Marina Lisina was online on the messenger service was June 16, 2023, days after the claim about her had been made.
Advanced Google searches across the Ukrainian database of business entities and government records did not produce any results placing Lisin's wife in the role of Burisma's chief accountant or an accountant in any other business, including Burisma's subsidiaries.
U.S. government records available online do not list her as such either and offer no mentions of her name in any other context.
The People's Voice, founded in 2014, is among the most prolific online publishers of fake news.
FACT CHECKED LIMITED AND/OR ITS SUPPLIERS MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS ABOUT THE SUITABILITY, RELIABILITY, AVAILABILITY, TIMELINESS, AND ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION, SOFTWARE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND RELATED GRAPHICS CONTAINED ON THE SITE FOR ANY PURPOSE. TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, ALL SUCH INFORMATION, SOFTWARE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND RELATED GRAPHICS ARE PROVIDED 'AS IS' WITHOUT WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF ANY KIND.
Other Lead Stories fact checks about Burisma can be found here.
Evgenia Prodaeva contributed to this story.