EU court lifts sanctions from MP Serhiy Kliuyev, his account won't be unfrozen yet
The European Court of Justice located in Luxembourg has ruled on the illegality of the last wave of sanctions imposed by the EU Council in 2017 on non-aligned Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine deputy Serhiy Kliuyev [spelled Klyuyev in court documents], the Kyiv-based Ukrayinska Pravda edition has reported, citing the press service of the court.
The decision was taken pursuant to a complaint filed by Kliuyev in 2015 from the wave of sanctions lasting until March 2016. During review of a complaint based on documents from new sanctions, including the most recent, introduced in March 2017. However, grounds for the sanctions remained the same: Kliuyev remained under sanctions based on evidence from Kyiv about "misuse of public funds."
In its decision, the court noted that the European Council, introducing sanctions, should have checked grounds for accusations against those named and if there were grounds for "doubting the authenticity of evidence," which Ukraine provide the EU, which did not take into account Kliuyev's objections.
At the same time, Deutsche Welle reported referring to a source in court that the court canceled existing sanctions, rather than the sanctions of the past years. At the same time, Kliuyev's accounts will not be unfrozen for the time being.
"The court ruled first to wait until the appeal period expires. The source didn't say if the EU will contest the lifting of the sanctions against Serhiy Kliuyev. However, the appeal doesn't have much sense, given that the sanctions expire on March 6," DW wrote.
A representative of the EU Council told DW that European institutions will study all available options for legal actions and when the time comes will decide on further actions.
According to the publication, during the period of the EU sanctions in Vienna, firms related to the Kliuyev brothers - Activ Solar and SLAV Handel - went bankrupt. As a result, the largest creditors of these companies - state-owned Oschadbank and Ukreximbank - remained with nothing. The loans worth almost $30 billion, which they issued, obviously, will not be returned. As a result, in order to support these banks, the government was forced to capitalize for about UAH 20 billion using state budget funds.
As earlier reported, the European Council decided in March 2014 to freeze the funds and economic resources of people who "were responsible for the misappropriation of Ukrainian state funds or for abuse of office causing a loss to Ukrainian public funds." The measure was subsequently extended every year.
The sanctions targeted 15 people, including former Prime Ministers Mykola Azarov and Serhiy Arbuzov and head of Yanukovych's presidential administration, Andriy Kliuyev, Serhiy Kliuyev's brother.
Yanukovych has denied misappropriating Ukraine's public funds.