Oleg Bakhmatyuk Condemns HACCU Decision to Impose Precautionary Measures in VAB Case as Unlawful and Biased

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The decision by the Appellate Chamber of the High Anti-Corruption Court overturning the lawful first instance ruling is a demonstration of political motivation behind the case. Regrettably, it was handed down following a direct intervention on the part of NABU Director Artem Sytnyk who considers me a personal enemy and has been pursuing a vendetta against me by perverting the course of justice.  To my knowledge, Artem Sytnyk paid a personal visit to HACCU and effectively meddled in the judicial process. What serves as direct evidence of that is the decisions handed down earlier by the same Appellate Chamber of HACCU in similar cases, those of Klimenko and Kluyev, where the Court ruled otherwise and refused to apply precautionary measures in the form of custody. 

The HACCU decision cannot be explained from the standpoint of law, it is absolutely illogical in that it orders the arrest of an individual whose whereabouts have been officially reported to the authorities, which is against applicable international conventions. This decision can only be explained by political motivation, and it has nothing to do with the principles and norms of Ukrainian or international law.  

It is a known fact that Mr. Sytnyk was in close contact with judges sitting on the Appellate Chamber while the court session was being prepared, in order to persuade them to rule the way they did. 

This was going on amid the ongoing negotiations and my declarations of readiness to cooperate in seeking a debt resolution with the government (just as a reminder, I originally proposed a settlement to the government two years ago). We are eager to save jobs, which is so critical at this juncture, amid the ongoing pandemic and the unfolding global economic crisis, which has also affected Ukraine’s economy.   We are eager to save our company, a large taxpayer and an important economic actor. We are eager to serve as an example of successful resolution of a situation that resulted from the unprecedented purge of the banking sector carried out by the NBU during 2014-2015 that forced most Ukrainian banks to go out of business. We are eager to act as a role model promoting similar settlement initiatives to other banks and their owners, which would be in the public interest. 

Unfortunately, the people waging this war against us by abusing their authority and influence do not have Ukraine’s best interests at heart; they are destroying a large company, a top taxpayer and a major employer.  They pursue their vested interests.  They are driven by personal ambitions and an unwillingness to admit their mistakes and wrongdoing. It’s a shame that the Appellate Chamber of HACCU ruled to overturn the lawful first instance ruling and handed down an unlawful decision, which will be challenged before international courts as a judgement contravening the principles of the rule of law.  

This decision stops us in our tracks on the road towards an amicable debt settlement that we have been struggling to achieve. This is a demonstration of how sound initiatives with ample upside for the government, unfortunately, get disregarded. It is a disgrace that people like Sytnyk and his cronies are given free rein to flagrantly abuse authority and political influence and get away with exacting revenge against an individual who had the courage to come forward with a principled position and exposed the NABU Director’s wrongdoing. 

The situation, in which we currently find ourselves, came out of the blue because it is so absurd and unlawful. It demonstrates that our citizens are unprotected in the face of political expediency and how they can be punished for their views in flagrant violation of the law. This situation shows that double standards apply in this country – the same Appellate Chamber of HACCU rules one way in the cases of Klimenko and Kuyev and then it hands down a completely opposite decision in Bakhmatyuk’s case. It is very unfortunate that Mr. Sytnyk has leverage over the new judicial authority, which is expected to administer justice in an independent and impartial manner.  

It becomes increasingly clear that we can no longer rely on the Ukrainian judiciary as a guarantor of our rights, we shall therefore seek justice before international courts. This could, unfortunately, result in Ukraine losing revenue and thousands of jobs, but when has it stopped Mr. Sytnyk and his cronies with their appalling lack of concern for the national interest?