The man accused of recruiting an assassin to kill journalist Arkady Babchenko has claimed the murder was part of a plot by Vladimir Putin to regain control of Ukraine.
Boris German, 50, appeared in court in Kiev on Thursday accused of hiring former monk Oleksiy Tsymbalyuk to kill Babchenko, who staged his own death in order to expose the plot.
But German claims that he took his orders from Vyacheslav Pivovarnik, a Moscow-based businessman who he claims works for one of Putin's personal foundations.
Boris German, 50, is accused of paying an assassin to murder Ukrainian journalist Arkady Babchenko who faked his own death to expose the plot
In court German claimed he was recruited by an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and that the plot was part of a plan by Russia to regain control of Ukraine
Speaking in court, German said: 'Six months ago, my old acquaintance contacted me, an ex-citizen of Ukraine, now living in Moscow.
'He works in a personal foundation of Putin's - and is in charge of organising riots in Ukraine and planned acts of terror at the next presidential elections.
'He is called Vyacheslav Pivovarnik. This is not a fairy tale, there's nothing mystical here, everything has been proved.'
Pivovarnik, a businessman from St Petersburg, has not commented on the claims.
German was arrested late on Thursday and accused of giving Tsymbalyuk a $30,000 advance payment in order to kill Babchenko, who is an outspoken critic of Putin.
Tsymbalyuk instead informed the SBU, Ukraine's domestic secret service, and collaborated with them, it is claimed.
The murder was then staged by the SBU - with Babchenko shown lying in a pool of fake blood - to flush out the killer, Ukrainian authorities claim.
Babchenko appeared at a press conference a day after he was supposedly murdered to stunned reactions from waiting reporters.
In court, German claimed he was part of the counter-intelligence operation having informed the SBU about the plot.
German named Moscow businessman Vyacheslav Pivovarnik, who is involved with one of Putin's personal foundations, as the man who recruited him to find a killer
German is accused of paying former monk Oleksiy Tsymbalyuk (pictured) an advance of $30,000 and