President's Office expresses concern about internal strife in NBU
The Office of the President in connection with the growing concern about internal strife in the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) calls on the NBU leadership to abandon personal ambitions and work for one goal – macroeconomic stability of Ukraine and the prosperity of every citizen.
"The office of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, with the support of Ukraine's western partners, will continue doing whatever is necessary to return all funds stolen from the Ukrainian population, including money associated with PrivatBank," the Office of the President said in a Facebook post on Friday.
While the president cannot and will not interfere with any ongoing investigation, the Office of the President urges all relevant officials to act solely in the interests of Ukraine and not pursue any personal interests while performing their duties.
As reported, earlier on Friday First Deputy Governor of the NBU Kateryna Rozhkova said that the NBU is conducting an internal investigation into the cooperation of the National Bank with the forensic company Kroll Inc., the consulting firm AlixPartners, as well as the law firms Hogan Lovells and Asters in the case of withdrawing $5.5 billion from PrivatBank prior to its nationalization.
In addition, the Prosecutor General's Office (PGO), at a request of Interfax-Ukraine, confirmed that the Main Investigation Department of the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) confirmed that, based on the results of hearing an appeal of one of the non-governmental organizations, information dated December 31, 2020 on the grounds of criminal offenses was entered into the unified register of pretrial investigations. The initiators accuse former governor of the NBU Valeria Gontareva and Rozhkova.
"In the course of the pretrial investigation, the circumstances of an alleged seizure of funds in the amount of over UAH 900 million, which is a particularly large amount, by officials of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU governor G., acting NBU governor R.) together with the heads and owners of a number of legal companies by prior conspiracy via concluding agreements on the provision of legal services at inflated prices are being checked, " the PGO said in the response to the request.
According to the response, the crime committed under Part 5 of Article 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (misappropriation, embezzlement or conversion or property by malversation) and Part 2 of Article 364 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (abuse of authority or office) is being investigated.
"To verify the circumstances of the appeal, demand the acts of receipt and transfer of funds and the work performed, the investigators of the State Bureau of Investigations obtained temporary access to them. No person was notified that he or she is suspect, no searches were carried out," the Prosecutor General's Office said.
In turn, the press service of the NBU told Interfax-Ukraine that the National Bank continues defending the lawfulness of the decisions to nationalize PrivatBank and firmly adheres to the position that those guilty of abuses should be held accountable for bringing the largest bank in Ukraine to bankruptcy.
"The NBU... facilitated the investigation of these abuses by law enforcement agencies. Interaction of the National Bank with all law enforcement agencies is taking place... in compliance with the NBU requirements regarding the secrecy of the investigation and the legal regime for disclosing bank secrets," the press service said.
The regulator also called on the media to refrain from disseminating unconfirmed information about the illegal withdrawal of funds from PrivatBank until they receive official comments from law enforcement agencies.