Prosecutors charge ex-PrivatBank officials with embezzling $300 million

By Liliane Bivings

Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova on March 15 announced additional charges against three former PrivatBank executives, this time for embezzling $300 million.

Venediktova hasn’t named the officials, but in February, prosecutors charged Oleksandr Dubilet, a former CEO of PrivatBank, his deputy Volodymyr Yatsenko and former head of the bank’s financial department Olena Bychikhina with embezzlement and forgery.

These additional charges are part of an ongoing investigation into the biggest bank fraud in Ukraine’s history. 

In 2016, the bank was nationalized when it was found to have an over $5.5 billion hole in its ledger, allegedly moved out by its former owners and oligarchs Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Bogolyubov via fraudulent schemes. 

For now, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) is tight-lipped about the possible future arrest of Kolomoisky and Bogolyubov, the alleged masterminds of the scheme. Both have repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

According to the NABU, the day before the bank was declared insolvent in December 2016, the officials made fraudulent transfers to two agricultural companies using PrivatBank money.

To conceal the crime, a group of individuals within the bank forged documents and changed balance records and electronic documents in the bank’s online system. 

Ukrainian authorities are getting ready for arrest hearings and believe there’s enough evidence to prove the officials are guilty.

Venediktova wrote that the investigation has all the necessary evidence at its disposal to bring this case forward: from backdated documents to fictitious data entered into accounting records.

PrivatBank declined to comment.

“Once we have the results of the investigation — there will be new accusations. As before, our slogan has not changed — no politics, dry criminal procedure pragmatism,” Venediktova wrote.

(c) KyivPost

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