Venediktova authorizes three new suspicions of ex-top managers of PrivatBank
Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova has authorized three new suspicions to former PrivatBank officials.
She made the corresponding statement on Monday on Facebook.
"Some UAH 8 billion – this is the amount of losses that the management of the then non-state PrivatBank inflicted on the citizens of Ukraine in 2016, and as of today, to the state budget of the country. More precisely, in the language of criminal procedure, detectives and prosecutors suspect the chairman of the board of committing this crime," Venediktova said.
She said that in 2015, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), on its own initiative, carried out an audit of the 20 largest banks in Ukraine, including, of course, the largest – PrivatBank.
"In the course of this audit, it turned out that the required amount of additional capitalization of the bank is UAH 113.1 billion. In short and without going into complicated details, the main and basic reason for the institution's 'morbidity' was that, according to experts from the NBU, 90% of the loan portfolio was at risk due to the fact that these loans were issued to persons who are closely associated with the former owners of the bank," the prosecutor general said.
She said that on December 16, 2016, the former owners of the bank addressed a letter in the officially established manner to the Prime Minister of Ukraine with a request to make a positive decision by the Cabinet of Ministers on the acquisition of PrivatBank shares by the state.
"Thus, the Chairman of the Board, the Deputy Chairman of the Board and at the same time Head of the Bank's Treasury and the Head of the Interbank Operations Department of the Bank's Treasury were well aware that control over the bank's funds would be lost in the near future. As a result of the emergence of a criminal plan, the essence of which was to waste the bank's funds, the officials of PrivatBank decided to illegally write off the monetary obligations of foreign companies to the bank and at the expense of the same bank. Technically, the management in this case decided to replace the debtor: instead of the aforementioned foreign companies, Claresholm Marketing Ltd had to pay off the debts of PrivatBank," Venediktova said.
She added that the investigation has all the necessary evidence from the signing of documents "retroactively" to the introduction of fictitious data in the accounting documentation.
"In addition to the episode mentioned above, detectives and prosecutors have already informed the Chairman of the Board about the suspicion of embezzlement of PrivatBank's funds by unlawful accrual and payment on December 16, 2016, of an unjustified additional premium [indexed commission] in favor of a legal entity associated with the bank – Ingosstrakh Insurance Company. The investigating authorities believe that the bank officials, as of the date of the implementation of their criminal plan, were well aware of the NBU's decision on the connection between PrivatBank and Ingosstrakh," the prosecutor general said.
She also said that the participation of other persons involved in these and other crimes in the investigation of criminal proceedings from the orbit of PrivatBank is being carefully investigated by the relevant law enforcement agencies.
"There will be conclusion - there will be new charges. As before, our slogan has not changed - no politics, only criminal procedural pragmatism," Venediktova said.
The press service of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) said that in December 2016, on the eve of the nationalization of PrivatBank, the incumbent Chairman of the bank's Board ordered to transfer $314.9 million (UAH 8.2 billion at the NBU rate) from a correspondent account opened in one of the European banks, as repayment of debt on previously issued letters of credit to two agricultural trader companies.
NABU said that this scheme is the second episode of the criminal activities of the top management of PrivatBank, which was exposed by NABU detectives. The first concerned a scheme to withdraw almost UAH 140 million through an insurance company controlled by the former beneficiaries of the financial institution.
"To date, five people have been prosecuted in both episodes: the former Chairman of PrivatBank's board, two of his deputies and two heads of departments. The former chairman of PrivatBank is a suspect in both episodes," NABU said.