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12 Oct 2021

Kyrylo Ovsyaniy,
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,

Ukraine: State-owned bank loaned $60 million to companies owned by a businessman with interests in the conflict zone

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Ukrainian State Bank Loaned $60 Million To Businessman With Assets In Donbas Conflict Zone, 8 October 2021

Ukraine's state-owned export-import bank lent $60 million to companies owned by a businessman with interests in parts of eastern Ukraine controlled by Moscow-backed separatists, a new investigation has found.

The businessman, Serhiy Bryukhovetskiy, has also paid millions of Ukrainian hryvnyas in taxes to the separatists and put up as collateral for the loan a Kyiv shopping mall whose ownership is under dispute...

The findings raise questions about why Ukreksimbank -- which is Ukraine's third-largest bank by assets and serves as the authorized financial agent for the government when making foreign loans -- was allowed to issue financing to an entity doing business with the separatists, possibly in violation of Ukrainian law...

Schemes was unable to contact Bryukhovetskiy for comment. A request for comment submitted to Bryukhovetskiy's son-in-law, who is a member of Ukraine's parliament, went unanswered...

During an interview on October 4 at Ukreksimbank's Kyiv offices, Schemes sought commentary from bank CEO Yevhen Metsher, and showed him the ownership documents. Metsher became defensive, and he and his spokesman ordered a security guard to seize the cameras and memory cards of two Schemes reporters.

The journalists were allowed to leave the office after the interview was apparently deleted from their memory cards. But Schemes’ technicians managed to retrieve video showing the entire confrontation...

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