16:00 31.01.2018

Ex-PM Azarov, ex-governor of NBU Arbuzov put on wanted list under Boiko's 'oil rigs case'

4 min read
Ex-PM Azarov, ex-governor of NBU Arbuzov put on wanted list under Boiko's 'oil rigs case'

Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko has said that during the investigation into the criminal organization lead by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Ukrainian law enforcers announced a new suspicion for and put on the wanted list former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and former governor of the National Bank Serhiy Arbuzov.

Lutsenko wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday that "former Prime Minister of Ukraine Azarov was charged with complicity in the illegal seizure of liquefied gas extracted by PJSC Ukrgazvydobuvannia and OJSC Ukrnafta "in especially large amounts, causing damage to the state to the tune of UAH 2.2 billion."

A suspicion was also announced to former governor of the NBU Arbuzov of "complicity in the seizure of funds of the State Oil Company Chornomornaftogaz in the amount of UAH 3.2 billion during the purchase of two self-elevating drilling rigs B312 and B319."

The public relations and media liaison department of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office said the agency on January 30 announced suspicion for Arbuzov, owner and board chairman of JSC Vernum Bank, and another citizen of Ukraine based on the articles of the Ukrainian Criminal Code dealing with "the creation of a criminal organization," "misappropriation, property embezzlement or taking property through abuse of office," "forgery," and "money laundering."

"The owner and board chairman of JSC Vernum Bank and the citizen of Ukraine have been detained [...] and they have now been taken into custody. Former first deputy prime minister of Ukraine Serhiy Arbuzov was put on the wanted persons list," the report said.

As was reported, Azarov was prime minister in Ukraine from March 11, 2010, to January 28, 2014. After Euromaidan events in February 2014, or the Revolution of Dignity, he fled the country. Later he repeatedly appeared on Russian TV, saying that he was residing in Russia.

The Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) of Ukraine brought charges against the former prime minister under Part 2 of Article 364 ("abuse of official position, which entailed grave consequences") of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

Prosecutors suspect Azarov illegally suspended checks on state-run Antonov enterprise in the autumn of 2012 while he was PM. As a result of the move, the PGO claims, the state suffered damage in especially large amounts estimated at over UAH 37 million ($1.7 million). A Ukrainian court issued a warrant to arrest Azarov.

On May 22, 2017, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office finalized a pretrial inquiry into illegal privatization of telecoms giant Ukrtelecom and obtained the court's permission to try former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and former Finance Minister Yuriy Kolobov in absentia.

On July 3, 2017, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said the case on the so-called "Boiko oil rigs" (the matter concerns the purchase of drilling rigs for oil and gas extraction on the Black Sea shelf at an overestimated price, in which co-chairman of the Opposition Bloc faction Yuriy Boiko is allegedly involved) is ongoing, the investigation in relation to the incumbent people's deputy under the testimony of Oleksandr Katsuba, the former deputy head of Naftogaz Ukrainy, who concluded a deal with the investigators, is underway.

"We are advancing in the high profile case on the so called "Boiko rigs." Oleksandr Katsuba, the son of ex-people's deputy Serhiy Katsuba, has spent a long time in custody, behind the bars, and after all he made a deal with the investigators. In this rather voluminous text of the agreement, he legally prescribed the facts known to him about the leadership of the criminal group that plundered state funds on an especially large scale during the purchase of oil drilling rigs," he said.

According to Lutsenko, now the investigation is proceeding in accordance with the testimony of Oleksandr Katsuba in relation to the "incumbent people's deputy."

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