Incidents, Economics

 Ukraine’s finance minister demands prosecutor general’s resignation, says PGO drags out probe into Privatbank insolvency

Minister of Finance of Ukraine Oleksandr Danyliuk accused Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) of dragging out the investigation into actions of former Privatbank managers and owners as well as criminal prosecution of current bank managers, officials of the Finance Ministry and NBU and the advisers they have hired.

Censor.NET reports citing the minister’s statement on the social media.

"We welcome yesterday's positive ruling of the London-based court to freeze the assets of the Privatbank’s former owners until consideration of the case on the merits. However, this was achieved not thanks to the PGO’s support, as it should have been, but despite all its explicit attempts to obstruct this process," he wrote.

 Read more: NBU deputy chief: Lawsuits regarding Kroll detective agency investigations in Privatbank motivated by desire to render their findings unlawful

"The case of Privatbank is a litmus test of the law enforcement agencies’ effectiveness. The state has spent almost 140 billion hryvnia on Privatbank’s additional capitalization as the funds were previously siphoned off from it or the bank granted insufficiently secured loans that have never been reimbursed. These funds belong to all citizens, all taxpayers, and they must be returned to the state budget. The backstage arrangements and inaction of law enforcement agencies are unacceptable," the finance minister stressed.

 Read more: Probe into bringing Privatbank to insolvency: PGO files charges against UK-based firm screening bank for corruption before its nationalization. DOCUMENT (in Ukrainian)

Danyliuk said that the Prosecutor General's Office drags out the investigation of cases into actions of former managers and owners of Privatbank. The PGO filed five criminal cases under the motions of the state-owned Privatbank into bringing it to insolvency, illegal extraction of funds from the bank, improper use of sensitive information from the bank's servers. However, none of these cases has been referred to the court due to the extremely slow pace of pre-trial investigations while some investigations are completely halted. The agency also actively files and investigates criminal proceedings against the now Privatbank managers, officials of the Finance Ministry and NBU. The PGO also resorted to the criminal prosecution of the bank advisers investigating siphoning off funds from Privatbank by its former owners and management to use the findings in both Ukrainian and international courts.

Earlier, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General's Office launched a probe into possible collusion of employees of Privatbank, Ukraine’s National Bank, and Kroll Associates U.K. Limited, a U.K.-based investigative firm involved in anti-corruption campaign in Privatbank before its nationalization. The PGO initiated a case into bringing Privatbank to insolvency on July 4, 2017.

Bank's Board Chairman Oleksandr Shlapak said 36 loans were signed by the former chairman of the board, Oleksandr Dubilet, with him exceeding the powers. The National Bank was provided unreliable data on uncovered credit risk and undeveloped reserves, and borrowers were not checked for relatedness, their financial position was artificially overstated.

Read more: NABU raids head office of Privatbank

On Dec. 18, 2016, the Cabinet of Ministers announced its decision to nationalize Privatbank, the largest privately-held bank of Ukraine. The government intends to issue 30-year domestic government loan notes worth 150 billion hryvnia ($5.54 billion) and become a 100-percent owner of the bank. The bank's first deputy CEO announced the decision was made after an unprecedented information attack on the bank and a threat it posed to its clients. The bank's leadership assured the clients their savings will be safe, naming it the key condition in the talks. In his turn, Minister of Finance Oleksandr Danyliuk confirmed the clients' money will be safe and protected by the state. Due to the nationalization procedure, Privatbank halted corporate transactions for one day, till 9 a.m. Dec. 20, 2016.

According to the National Bank of Ukraine, Privatbank needs 148 billion hryvnia in additional capitalization. The finance minister said that after Privatbank is stabilized, the state plans to sell it. In turn, President Poroshenko said the state guarantees safety and integrity of the client's funds.

The decision on the Privatbank nationalization has been supported by IMF, EBRD, the G7 countriesthe EU and the U.S.

On Dec. 19, 2017, London-based High Court of England froze the worldwide assets of Privatbank former owners Ihor Kolomoiskyi and Hennadii Boholiubov. The decision was made under a lawsuit filed by Privatbank against its former owners over alleged extraction of almost $2 billion from the bank through dishonest transactions.

Источник: https://censor.net.ua/en/n3040816