In an interview to Babel, the former prosecutor general of Ukraine, Ruslan Ryaboshapka, alleged that the prosecutor general was blocking the proceedings against the former owner of VAB Bank Oleg Bakhmatyuk. The former official claims his successor is allegedly obstructing NABU’s efforts to bring the case to trial. It is Ryaboshapka’s blessing, however, that allowed his deputy, Vitaliy Kasko, to sign an unlawful decision to wrongfully reopen a case, that had been exhaustively investigated by several law enforcement authorities and closed by court, in breach of the Code of Criminal Procedure and out of time- a case that cannot be brought to sentencing exactly because the charges are trumped-up, and the case is clearly fabricated.
This statement raises surprise, in part because the case was opened chiefly against the former acting governor of the NBU, Oleksandr Pysaruk, but Mr Ryaboshapka appears to be ashamed of mentioning him. He’s openly stating after all that that he wants his job back as prosecutor general and he counts on support from the West. And the charges against Pysaruk, a former IMF employee and banker with a reputation across Western business and government circles that NABU never succeeded in proving despite Ryaboshapka’s buy-in, is the inconvenient truth that he’s doing his best to bury as something that stands between him and his old job.
So, it’s worth reminding Mr Ryaboshapka and the international circles that the former prosecutor general is so counting on that the case against Oleksandr Pysaruk and our company owner, Oleg Bakhmatyuk, was opened on charges of alleged misappropriation of refinancing extended by the NBU to VAB Bank during the 2014 crisis. Forensic expert reports, reviews by the State Deposit Guarantee Fund and statements by the NBU confirm that the proceeds of refinancing were fully used according their designated purpose – they were paid out to the bank’s depositors. This case was investigated by all appropriate law enforcement agencies and was closed by court ruling, the allegations were refuted. What is more, the case wrongfully reopened by Ryaboshapka’s point man Kasko, which neither Ryaboshapka, nor Kasko ever even read, is also falling apart: a year and a half into the so-called investigation NABU detectives have interrogated Oleksandr Pysaruk only once, they have failed to find evidence to back up the charges, so they’ve lost interest in pursuing them any further.
That’s why Ryaboshapka is not mentioning Pysaruk in connection with this case. He’s mentioning Bakhmatyuk instead and here’s why: he has nothing to write home about his own performance as prosecutor general, so he’s trying to distract from his own mistakes by making such statements. One thing Ruslan Ryaboshapka and NABU Director Artem Sytnyk positively deserve credit for is putting 13,000 employees out of a job at the Ukrlandfarming company owned by Oleg Bakhmatyuk. He can also claim credit for bringing 37 enterprises to a grinding halt and be pleased with himself for playing a role in causing losses to the government budget resulting in UAH 1.5 b worth of taxes foregone last year alone. He can brag about all those closed farms including the unique breeding facilities. He can be proud of having a hand in the closing down of egg farms and claim credit for bringing about a drop in GDP as a result of reduced output. He can also brag about the steeply rising food prices as a result of his unlawful actions.
We only hope that in his future interviews, on top of criticising his successors for their handling of the Pysaruk-Bakhmatyuk case, the former prosecutor general summons the courage to account for his own actions that he took while in office in breach of the law, against court rulings of all levels and in violation of jurisdiction and procedural timelines - actions that have caused major damage to the national economy and resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs. And last but not least, they have undermined Ukraine’s reputation as a country respecting the rule of law in the eyes of international investors.