Seven National Bank of Ukraine employees arrested for embezzling $48 million

Staff from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) in Kyiv have arrested seven people in connection with the refinancing of VAB Bank, the NABU’s press service reported on Facebook.

“These are former and current officials from the National Bank of Ukraine, PJSC VAB Bank and private companies linked to the ultimate beneficiaries of VAB Bank,” the report states.

The bureau noted that the suspects are believed to have embezzled 1.2 billion hryvnia (more than $48 million) from a stabilization loan granted by the National Bank to VAB Bank in 2014.

The NABU said that the defendants will provisionally be charged according to section 5 article 191 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (misappropriation, embezzlement of property or acquisition thereof through abuse of an official position), and could face up to 12 years in prison. At present, the court is considering which pretrial restrictions to impose on the suspects, the bureau clarified.

A source told Ukrayinska Pravda that Pysaruk had been arrested on suspicion of abusing the stabilization loans issued to VAB Bank at the time when he was the deputy head of the National Bank. A source told the newspaper that VAB Bank, which belongs to Oleh Bakhmatyuk, received 1.2 billion hryvnia in refinancing several years ago, but the value of the collateral that was provided was significantly lower than the loan amount. “Bakhmatyuk himself fled Ukraine,” the newspaper writes, without clarifying when this took place.

  National Bank of Ukraine, Ukraine