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Yanukovych Cronies Gifted Him $1.5 Billion: Report

A secret court order details the brokers and companies which allegedly schemed to sell bonds on behalf of the former Ukrainian leader.

11 January 2018

An Al Jazeera report on a former Ukrainian National Bank governor’s role in helping then-president Viktor Yanukovych (pictured) fraudulently obtain $1.5 billion has drawn a rejoinder from the bank.

 

The alleged transactions occurred in November and December 2013, at the outset of the Maidan street protests against Yanukovych’s regime. The then-head of Investment Capital Ukraine (ICU), the firm Al Jazeera reports helped broker $1.5 billion in Ukrainian government bonds on behalf of eight Cypriot companies later traced to Yanukovych, Valeriya Gontareva, was named to head the central bank (NBU) in 2014.

 

“ICU has close links with the current government, having advised billionaire President Poroshenko on the sale of his confectionary company, Roshen,” Al Jazeera writes.

 

The NBU denied any wrongdoing by Gontareva, saying that ICU as a licensed broker worked through state-owned Oschadbank to carry out financial transactions and monitor financial reports for non-resident companies.

 

"All documents and bank statements from the state bank fully complied with the requirements of the current legislation," the NBU said, Unian reports.

 

In mid-2014, the central bank said that it initiated the freezing of accounts of some companies suspected of belonging to members of Yanukovych’s “criminal government.”

 

Ukrainian officials froze $1.5 billion of assets shortly after Yanukovych’s ouster and flight to Russia in early 2014.

 

Gontareva, described by Reuters as a former Poroshenko business partner who instituted much-need reforms in the banking system, resigned last May after coming under fire from some business interests and lawmakers.

 

Al Jazeera reported the suspicious bond sales yesterday in the latest part of its investigation into how Ukrainian oligarchs helped Yanukovych.

 

A March 2017 secret order by a Donetsk regional court obtained by Al Jazeera names ICU as the broker which traded the bonds on behalf of the Cypriot companies.

 

"My practical work with ICU was mainly aimed at asset management. I was not directly involved in brokering," Unian quotes Gontareva as saying.

 

When the transactions were made, ICU “saw nothing suspicious,” Gontareva told Al Jazeera.

 

ICU told Interfax-Ukraine it had conducted obligatory checks and financial monitoring on clients of Oschadbank for whom it brokered sales of government securities.

 

 

 

  • Ukrainian authorities have stated that former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili took money from the fugitive Kurchenko and other associates of Yanukovych to further his bid to replace Poroshenko. Saakashvili is facing legal action both in his adopted home of Ukraine and Georgia.

 

  • A Kyiv court is trying Yanukovych for treason in his absence. 

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

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