“A country for its people”: 370 mln UAH of state subsidies – for two Donetsk families
200 mln UAH from the State Budget – for the development of your own business. Signed off by your own decision.
We are only curious: if anything like that took place in Austria, where the family of Ukraine’s First Vice Prime-Minister Andriy Kliuev and his MP brother lives, what would be the consequences for the politician?
According to the Government Decree from May 17, 2010, Andriy Kliuev heads the so-called Coordinating Committee for Investment Projects Support. This is an advisory body to Ukraine’s Cabinet of Minister. The institution makes decisions which investment projects should receive special state subsidies from Ukraine’s Stabilization Fund. State Budget assigned over 1 billion UAH for such a support of investment projects. Almost half of the money went to two Donetsk families. Committee’s decisions are implemented by State Agency for Investment and Development – under direct control of First Vice Prime-Minister. Mr. Kliuev managed to create a completely closed loop of decision making process about the ‘state support’ for business projects, after lobbying his loyal supporter – Oleksandr Taran – to lead the State Agency for Investment and Development.
Recently, on October 26, Coordinating Committee for Investment Projects Support held a meeting, which had absolutely no mention in the press. The exact agenda of the meeting was also concealed.
Throughout this week Ukrayinska Pravda was contacting press-secretary of Mr. Kliuev and the Head of State Agency for Investment and Development, however, they were reluctant to provide any useful information.
And only, after we wrote that press-section of State Agency for Investment and Development is largely ignoring its primary functions, we managed to finally receive an answer.
However, we were still not informed about the actual decisions taken at that meeting.
The Agency’s answer was very minimal: “On October 26, 2010, Coordinating Committee for Investment Projects Support held a meeting. Decisions at the meeting were taken unanimously”
What happened exactly became known to us only through our own sources, present at the meeting.
Mr. Kliuev’s Committee was reviewing four ‘innovative and investment projects’, that were bidding for state support and subsidies.
State subsidies would be directed to cover the interest rate expenses for the winning companies.
Support to Blyzniuk’s companies
Committee’s meeting decided to provide state subsidies for two projects:
172 mln UAH – for Kramatorsk factory ‘Energomashspetsstal’.
Project name: ‘Program for the reconstruction and modernization of technological processes and production capacity’
State agreed to compensate bank interest payments for the loan in the sum of 172 UAH, during the period of 2008-2010.
It’s rather strange that the owner of the factory, bidding for the state subsidies, is … a foreign investor!
Three years ago the factory belonged to companies from British Virgin Islands, Cyprus and Belize – a country in Central America, which used to be called British Honduras.
Recently the company restructured its equity. According to the latest information, 24.4% of the factory belongs to Cyrpiot company Jugon Holding Limited. 54.5% of shares are owned by Cypriot company Ukrainian Metalurgical Plants M.S. Ltd. This information is based on the data from State Commission for Securities and Stock Market.
At the same time, it looks as if the Cypriot company obviously has Ukrainian roots, judging from its name, and the real owners are hiding behind the foreign signatures.
To understand who the real owner is, we inquired about the Head of Supervisory Committee of ‘Energomashspetsstal’. Turned out that the Committee is led by MP from Donetsk Regional Parliament, Mr. Sergiy Blyzniuk, the son of Donetsk Region Governor – Anatoliy Blyzniuk.
To conclude, ‘Energomashspetsstal’ is a private factory, that is owned by foreign capital on papers, but in reality – belongs to Ukrainians, who simply signed off the equity to off-shore companies, presumingly – to minimize the taxes. The owner of the factory is Donestk Region Governer’s son, and the factory received state support, based on the decision of Committee, led by another Donestk representative – Mr. Andriy Kliuev.
In addition, Mr. Kliuev and Mr. Blyzniuk worked side by side between 1998 and 2002, as deputies for Donetsk Region Governer Viktor Yanukovych. After their boss became the Prime Minister, Mr. Kliuev joined him as his deputy, and Mr. Blyzniuk was left to head the Donetsk region.
State subsidies for Mr. Kliuev
But the largest sum of state subsidies was granted to Zaporizzhya semiconductors factory – 200 mln UAH.
This support was given for the innovative project of ‘Creating vertically-integrated company for production of photovoltaic elements’. These 200 mln UAH will be used to compensate company’s bank interest rate expenses.
And now – the most interesting part. The owner of semiconductors factory is also foreign – Austrian company Activ Solar GmbH, that owns 75% of company’s shares.
Ukrainian state budget sponsors Austrian business – isn’t it absurd? No, because ‘Viennese investor’ is only VIennese by its name.
Semiconductors factory belongs to the business empire of … First Vice Prime-Minister Mr. Andriy Kliuev. As Activ Solar GmbH website states, company’s Ukrainian representative office is located at the address: Riznytska st., 3.
The impressive building is the headquarters of Kliuev brothers. Other companies, such as Ukrpidshypnyk, etc. are also registered here. Even though Mr. Andriy Kliuev is the First Vice Prime-Minister of all Ukraine, his working office is still at Riznytska st. Opposite to it, there is an office for his brother – MP Sergiy Kliuev.
So, in other words, state support in the sum of 200 mln UAH is channeled to the company of Mr. Andiy Kliuev – and is granted by the decision of the Committee, headed … by Mr. Andriy Kliuev as well.
If that’s not conflict of interest, then what is it?
Mr Kliuev needs State’s financial support to build solar power stations in Crimea. And this is not the first time when the State grants special support for Mr. Kliuev’s business.
For example, the loans that the Government of Ukraine finances for Mr. Kliuev, were also taken from the state bank ‘Ukreximbank’.
Even though Mr. Kliuev is one of the leaders for Party of Regions, he always tried to maintain good relations with country’s opposition. It’s no secret that Yuliya Tymoshenko was conducting the negotiations for ‘broad coalition’ with Mr. Kliuev himself.
In March 2009 state bank ‘Ukreximbank’ signed an agreement with semiconductors factory to provide a loan of 150 mln EURO – almost 1.7 billion UAH at that time. The funding was given to support Mr Kliuev’s solar power projects.
The Loan agreement was secured with property rights for the purchase of equipment – ‘polysilicon deposition systems’, ‘evaporators’, ‘starter heaters’ etc.
Despite the innofative technology of this equipment, the security is definitely not liquid enough. So, in case the creditor is not able to pay the loan back, it’s almost impossible to sell this kind of equipment. It’s not real estate or business equity that can be sold on the market.
Project is definitely risky, however, the state bank agreed to provide the 150 mln EURO loan for Mr. Kliuev, under the 13.5-15% interest rate.
One year later, in 2010, after Yanukovych victory in presidential elections, Mr. Kliuev started showing special interest in Ukreximbank.
For example, rumors said that Ukreximbank will be headed by Denys Kireev – Supervisory Board member, assigned in 2007 through the lobbying of Mr. Kliuev.
However, this remained only an idea, and Mr. Kireev became Kliuev’s eyes and hands in Supervisory Board. Mr. Kliuev found a more creative way to solve the issue of his loans – through the Coordinating Committee for Investment Projects Support, headed by him.
To summarize, the state gave zero-interest loan for Mr. Kiluev’s business expansion.
But these are not all of Mr. Kliuev’s plans to grow his capital using financial support from Ukrainian citizens.
Ukrayinska Pravda has a Agreement Letter from Ministry of Economy, dating back to November 2, 2010. The Letter gives permission to a number of similarly-named companies – Oriol Solar, Ouzil Solar, Osrpiy Solar, Omao Solar – to take out banking loans under the state’s securities.
All of them are supposed to build solar power stations in Okhotnikove village, Crimea. Ministry of Economy gave such permission, even though Oriol Solar was founded only in May 2012, and has not conducted any business activity since.
As the Ministry’s Letter mentions, Oriol Solar plans to get 875 mln UAH of loans, or 99.6% of project’s value. The company’s starting capital is 7.000 UAH, and 99.9% of shares are owned by an off-shore firm from Cyprus.
It’s easy to find out though who the real owner of those companies is: according to the agreement from November 28, 2010, Aktiv Solar Ltd (also registered at the Mr.Kliuev’s headquarters’ address of Risnytska st., 3) has to provide unlimited financial support to Oriol Solar company.
Even after we assume that the company might not be fictional and its end owners are not Mr. Kliuev’s family, it’s still quite absurd that Ukrainian government spends large sum of state’s budget to support those who use semi-legal offshore schemes.
Moreover, it’s expected that these companies must be financed with the help of State Innovation Finance and Loan Institute, and State Investment Agency, that will provide the capital with state securities. The mentioned institutions are under direct management from State Agency for Investment and Development.
That’s why it was crucial for Mr. Kliuev to appoint his own person to manage this area.
According to the official biography, Oleksandr Taran took a number of leadership positions in the Federation of Trade Unions in Ukraine between 2009-2010, before his appointment as the head of State Agency for Investment and Development.
Federation of Trade Unions in Ukraine is one more object of interest for Mr. Kliuev. In 2009 it was headed by MP Vasyl Khara, another representative of the Party of Regions. After the presidential elections in 2010 the Federation started to actively work on a plan to join assets of the Federation with the assets of Aktiv Bank.
At the end Federation’s resorts could have been under full control of Mr. Kliuev’s business structures.
To support high interest of Mr. Kliuev in the Federation, the last moved all of their banking activities to Aktiv Bank, and three trade union leaders, loyal to Mr. Khara, joined the Supervisory Board of the Mr. Kliuev’s Bank.
Now, after Yanukovych’ election as the President of Ukraine, Mr. Kliuev’s loyal team from Federation of Trade Union joined the State Agency for Investment and Development as well. Beside Mr. Taran, Mr. Yuriy Karaul was appointed as the Agencys’ Deputy Director. Mr Yuriy used to work as the Head of Finances in JSC ‘Ukrprofozdorovnytsia’, that belongs to the Federation.
When preparing materials for this article, Ukrayinska Pravda submitted requests for information to Mr. Andiy and Sergiy Kliuev, and tried to reach the press-section of the First Vice Prime-Minister, but received no response.
Even though our requests were addressed to Kliuev brothers, Party of Region’s MP Mr. Oleksandr Yedin called our office.
Єдін і Клюєв
Yedin stated that Mr. Kliuev’s Committee made a decision to grant state support for semiconductors factory, only because in 2009 Yulia Tymoshenko’s government assigned the status of ‘innovative’ to the project.
Moreover, Mr. Yedin said that he is the owner of Semiconductors Factory, not Mr. Kliuev.
At the same time he could not explain, why the representative office of the Austrian company Activ Solar GmbH (the end shareholder of Semiconductors Factory) is located in Kyiv’s office of Kliuev brothers.
And why Activ Solar GmbH and Slav AG company, that owns 92.8% of Mr. Kliuev’s Aktiv Bank, are both registered at the same address in Vienna: Vipplingerstrasse, 35?
And why the loan guarantees for semiconductor factory were provided by Mr. Kliuev’s insurance company ‘Aktiv Insurance’?
Overall, the connection of Mr. Kliuev to the Semiconductors Factory is quite clear:
Based on the above information, Mr. Yedin is simply Mr. Kliuev’s Managing Partner in the solar power business.
After we asked a basic question, that perhaps Mr. Kliuev has an option to buy-out the business, Mr. Yedin said that: ‘There are some issues not to be discussed’.