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Ang isang bakas ng Russia ay malamang na magpapahina sa pinuno ng hinaharap ng Ukrainian Central Bank na si Andriy Pyshnyy

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EU Reporter na naglathala ng isang pagsisiyasat tungkol sa bagong pinuno ng Ukrainian National Bank, kung saan sinipi namin ang sikat na mamamahayag ng Ukrainian Serhyi Lyamets. After the publication, S.Lyamets submitted to us his separate article – published below – about suspicions of some banking malpractices, which are important as we talk about the head of the central bank and the family of Ukrainian businessmen strongly associated with former Russian president Medvedev.

A Russian trace is likely to undermine the head of the Ukrainian Central Bank Andriy Pyshnyy’s future, writes Serhyi Lyamets.

"Sa mga oras ng pagsalakay ng Russia at mga parusa sa Europa, ang mga sandaling ito ay halos hindi mapapansin. Nagkaroon ng isang episode sa mga aktibidad ng kasalukuyang pinuno ng National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), na minsan ay malawak na iniulat ng Ukrainian mass media. Noong 2020, habang pinamumunuan ni Andriy Pishny ang Oschadbank na pag-aari ng estado, nagsagawa siya ng medyo kahina-hinalang transaksyon sa pananalapi. Lumipas ang ilang taon, at ang mga transaksyong ito ay hindi naimbestigahan nang maayos. Bukod dito, si Pishny ay naging pinuno ng NBU.

Maaaring sabihin ng isa na sa panahon ng digmaang Ruso, maaaring may iba pang mahahalagang isyu na dapat imbestigahan ngunit ito mismo ang dahilan kung bakit kailangan nating bumalik sa kuwentong ito. Ang dahilan ay ang transaksyon ay ginawa sa isang katapat, na itinuturing na isang kamag-anak sa kilalang opisyal ng Russia, ang dating pangulo ng Russia na si Dmitri Medvedev. Siya ang hindi kailanman pinalampas ang anumang pampublikong pagkakataon na banta ang Ukraine at ang Kanluran ng mga bombang nuklear. Samantala, umunlad ang kanyang inaakalang mga kamag-anak sa Ukraine dahil sa mga kahina-hinalang deal, na nabigong maimbestigahan nang maayos ng mga ahensyang nagpapatupad ng batas ng Ukrainian. 

The story is about a loan for the construction of one of the largest office and shopping centres in Kyiv “Gulliver”. It belongs to “Three O” LLC, which in 2006 received initial 61.6 million USD of loans provided by the state-owned “Oschadbank” and “Ukreximbank”. Andriy Pyshniy who is now head of the NBU then occupied the position of the first deputy chairman at the board of “Oschadbank”. He was actively engaged in the deal in person and even gave comments to Russian Kommersant on that loan.

Subsequently, the debt increased to more than 200 million dollars, and according to some sources – even to $441 million. Most of the funding was provided by “Oschadbank” ($353 million), and approximately a quarter of the investment was made by another state-owned bank – “Ukreximbank”.

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Previous beneficiaries of the complex were Vagif Aliyev, Oleksiy Kucherenko and Serhiy Veselov . But in 2012, the then unfinished ” Gulliver ” was purchased by Viktor Polishchuk, the owner to the chain of electronics and household appliances stores “Technopolis”. This deal was approved by “Kommersant” investigation.

Today, the official owner of the “Three O” LLC is a bunch of offshore companies and one physical Vyacheslav Ignatenko. But as it follows from an investigation by NGO “Nashi ” (“Our Money”), Viktor Polishchuk and his wife Lilia Rezvaya remained the real owners of the Gulliver shopping centre. Probably they still own it.

Viktor Polishchuk is not only known as the owner of the Technopolis network, which he merged with the Eldorado network after its acquisition in 2013. The businessman also owned the bankrupt “Mykhailivskyi” bank, which left behind thousands of defrauded customers, causing losses to the Ukrainian state of billions of hryvnias. But even this fact is not the most compromising.

Polishchuk’s wife, Lilia Rezvaya , is often referred to as the niece of Svitlana Medvedeva, the wife of the ex-president of the Russian Federation. Now Dmytro Medvedev is the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, and one of the main supporters of Vladimir Putin , wanted by the Hague Criminal Court for crimes against Ukrainian children. Medvedev regularly threatens the West and Ukraine with nuclear attacks and is one of the most prominent hawks supporting the war.

Actually, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began not in 2022 but in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea and the occupation of Donbas.

Kaya noong 2020 si Andriy Pishnyi at ang mga opisyal ng Oschadbank ay hindi maaaring manatiling walang kaalaman tungkol sa Medvedev na sumusuporta sa pagsasanib ng Crimea at mga labanan sa silangan ng Ukraine. Maaari ding malaman ni Pyshniy ang tungkol sa mga dapat na koneksyon sa pagitan ng mga pamilyang Polishchuk at Medvedev dahil ito ay sikreto ng Polichinelle sa Ukraine. Ang Polishchuk at Rezvaya ay hindi kailanman kinikilala ang kanilang koneksyon sa pamilya kay Medvedev bagaman, ngunit sila ay kilala para doon sa Ukrainian media. Maaari nilang gamitin ang mga alingawngaw na iyon upang ipakita ang kanilang kahalagahan dahil sa kanilang malapit na relasyon sa dating pangulo ng Russia.

Kaya, nakakahiya na ang isang bangko na pag-aari ng estado sa kabila ng direktang ugnayan ng nanghihiram nito sa dating pangulo ng Russia ay nakikibahagi sa malawakang pagsasaayos ng mga utang sa mga kahina-hinalang kondisyon.

Repayment of the debt for building up “Gulliver” was supposed to take place in 2025. However, after the 2014-2016 crisis, Polishchuk stopped paying the debt. Media said that was not for the reason he had no money. That was rather his way of making business. In October 2016, the head of the National Bank of Ukraine Valeria Gontareva officially stated that Polishchuk owed Ukrainian banks and the Individual Deposit Guarantee Fund UAH 23 billion. It was stated that the funds were precisely “withdrawn” from his bank “Mykhailivskyi” through different suspicious schemes. The bank went bankrupt, the NBU recorded billion-dollar frauds with clients’ funds. The Verkhovna Rada even got forced to pass a special law in order to repay the debts to thousands of defrauded bank depositors at the expense of the state. But no proper reaction by authorities followed.  Surprisingly, Polishchuk’s name did not ever get into the list of suspects in that case. Moreover, it is still not there. It’s still unknown whether it was corruption at the level of public officials or a opportunistic political decision due to family ties of the Polishchuk family.

In November 2016 “Gulliver” ownership was arrested as part of the bankruptcy case of “Mykhailivskyi” bank. In order to decouple profit making business centre and bankrupted bank Polishchuk denied owning Gulliver, assured that he “was never the owner of the company “Three O” and called the arrest a “surprise”. “Gulliver does not belong to me. I cannot say what procedural actions the prosecutor’s office was guided by,” Polishchuk said sa isang pakikipanayam. But he officially recognized that his wife, whom media already recognized as a relative of Medvedev, “manages” the Gulliver.

Gayunpaman, ang mga negosasyon tungkol sa mga utang ni Gulliver ay isinagawa mismo ni Polishchuk. Ayon kay ang Ukrainian media, noong 2018, inayos muli ng Oschadbank ang utang ng ilang kumpanya na nauugnay sa Polishchuk, kabilang ang Gulliver, Diesa LLC , Technopolis-1 LLC, Techenergotrade LLC atbp. Kaya't ang muling pagsasaayos ng utang para sa Gulliver ay hindi lamang ang kaso ng pakikipagtulungan kay Andriy Pyshny .

In September 2016 the former Ministry of Finance official provided information  Oschadbank loan to relative of Medvedev was 460 million dollars while the market value of the mortgaged property was barely half of this amount. Indeed, in the extract from the register of property rights to real estate, the sum of the debt was 440.99 million dollars – 352.79 million dollars – to “Oschadbank” and 88.2 million dollars – to “Ukreximbank”.

Noong Marso 2016, the “Weekly Mirror ” newspaper isinulat ang utang sa mga may-ari ng Guliver ay itinakda sa isang nakakagulat na mababang rate na 9%, habang ang mga rate sa merkado ay umabot sa 30% at ang panahon ng pagbabayad ay pinalawig hanggang Disyembre 2025, na para sa Ukrainian market ay napaka hindi pangkaraniwan.

Andriy Pyshnyi, who was already in charge of Oschadbank, refrained from commenting to journalists why Gulliver owners received such a preferential treatment but later mentioned that “all decisions on loans were made by the credit committee and the board of the bank are with the participation of the NBU representatives”. So, he basically refused to take responsibility for such a suspicious decision.

Gayunpaman, hindi ito ang katapusan ng kuwento.

In 2018, it turned out that again, despite of these exceptional conditions, debts were not paid. State banks initiated an auction to sell mortgaged property for those loans, in particular, the Gulliver shopping centre. In the fall of 2018, “Oschadbank” and “Ukreximbank” offered for sale the rights and claims for loans secured by the property of the Gulliver shopping centre. The starting price was UAH 18.2 billion.

Gayunpaman, ang auction ay hindi naganap noon. Sa halip, isang kakaibang bagay ang nangyari. Sa 2020, ang investigative journalist group “Our Money” published an extract from the state register of property rights to immovable property, which provides information about the debt of Gulliver to Oschadbank for 537.2 million dollars, and to Ukreximbank – for 137.8 million dollars (i.e. in total – 675 million USD). So, the total debt due to the Polishchuk project to two state banks reached 674.99 million USD.

So, despite of such a bad credit history of Polishchuk and Gulliver in 2020, Oshchadbank of Andriy Pyshnyi not only postponed debt repayment but even increased lending time. Moreover, Gulliver received new, fantastic Ukrainian market conditions for new loans. According to the published documents, the company’s debt to state-owned banks repayment term was extended to January 2044, and the loan rate was set at the level of 3.65% in all currencies.

What could that deal for Polishchuk mean in the realities of Ukrainian business? Restructuring by 2044 effectively can be explained as the loan will never be repaid. The interest rates provided were openly non-market. Such a generous offer could never be obtained by even the most profitable business in Ukraine. That fact brings up the suspicion that Andrii Pishny arranged a behind-the-scenes restructuring by special arrangement. Considering that “Oschadbank” belongs to the state, we can suspect corruption at extremely high level. It is not a surprise that because of such loans, Oshchadbank has one of the worst market results and regularly demands the owner – the Ukrainian government – to provide it with yet another subsidy from the state budget.

Kung tama ang hinala, nangangahulugan iyon na ang mga nagbabayad ng buwis sa Ukraine ay nag-subsidize ng pribadong kayamanan sa mga nararapat na kamag-anak ng dating pangulo ng Russia.

Kailangang imbestigahan ang ganoong kuwento at kailangang parusahan ang mga responsable. Ngunit sa kasong ito, ang resulta ay ibang-iba. Ang chairman ng lupon ng Oschadbank na pag-aari ng estado na si Andrii Pyshnyi ay na-promote sa posisyon ng chairman ng Ukrainian central bank matapos ang kanyang dalawang hinalinhan ay napilitang umalis sa kanilang mga post bago ang kanilang pagtatapos ng termino at parehong inakusahan na opisina ng presidente sa ilalim ng pampulitikang presyon . Kaya, ang paglalagay ng isang tao na may tulad na "kasaysayan ng kredito" sa posisyon ng pinuno ng NBU ay maaaring maging isang babala sa mga internasyonal na kasosyo ng Ukraine.

Ukrainian authorities now sanctioned their own and foreign citizens rather harshly, often after only on the assumption of them cooperating with the Russian Federation. In this case, we have strong facts that both the Ukrainian and the Western authorities should investigate very thoroughly.”

May-akda,  Serhyi Lyamets, ay isang sikat na Ukrainian na mamamahayag.

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