The owner of one of Ukraine’s largest agricultural holding companies, Ukrlandfarming, has petitioned the president to protest against attempts to destroy his company suffering from improper pressure on the part of the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU). Ukrainian news reports
The businessman Oleg Bakhmatyuk openly appealed
to the president during an interview to the journalist Dmitri Gordon. ‘This company used to employ 30,000 people (down to 17,000 now; 13,000 jobs lost to our fight with NABU over the last 21 months). Our tax contributions have officially dropped by UAH 1.5b compared to the previous period due to reduced capacity and output down by 25-30%. We support 600 communities as a socially responsible corporate citizen. We lease farmland from some 200K individual landowners. We contribute prominently to social projects in those communities, and we are talking about some 70% of Ukraine’s total area in different parts of the country. The case is pretty simple. It concerns a situation involving VAB Bank, one that we have petitioned you about on numerous occasions; the case was opened unlawfully by Ryaboshapka. Sytnyk, for his part, is fighting us instead of fighting [corrupt] officials by using state resources’, said the businessman.
‘Companies like mine are a tool that you as president could leverage in pursuit of an economic policy geared towards attracting investments into Ukraine, both from Asian countries, RCEP and the Middle East. We’ve done this before’, said Bakhmatyuk. ‘Over the past 10 years, we have raised some 2 billion dollars in foreign debt and 400m in equity. All that cash was invested in building a large number of facilities in Ukraine, something to demonstrate, something to show. The number of people employed at those facilities speaks for itself’.
NABU’s war against the company that has dragged on for nearly two years, according to Bakhmatyuk. ‘I would like you to look into the situation because it’s not affecting me alone and resolve it in the best interest of the nation. As a company owner, as a Ukrainian citizen, I’m ready to engage in dialogue and seek compromise, because I think that this war could end in destroying a very large company impacting the country’s social and economic life. We have that experience: we have won the case of Financial Initiative Bank, which was wrongfully liquidated 5 years ago by the National Bank of Ukraine. We eventually got a statement from the Supreme Court confirming that we were 100% right. The bank has been destroyed, it’s just a mound of ashes. I wouldn’t want to see that happen to a company that once employed 30,000 and now employs 17,000. I think we have a common interest here’, states the businessman.
Just as a reminder, the NABU case against Pysaruk and Bakhmatyuk concerns refinancing by the NBU of VAB Bank. Official expert assessments, opinions by the State Deposit Guarantee Fund and statements by the NBU all refute the charges formally pursued by NABU against the bank’s former management and owner. Bakhmatyuk has stated that NABU’s attacks against his company is a personal vendetta by the Bureau’s director.