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Police close cases worth billions against businessman Bakhmatyuk that were illegally transferred to them by SAPO

The Anti-Corruption Action Center has added two proceedings to its Register of Cases Dumped by the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO). These were two cases against Ukrainian businessman Oleg Bakhmatyuk. The SAPO transferred the cases to the National Police, despite the fact that the police had no investigative jurisdiction for the cases. Both cases have already been closed. 

The first case relates to proceedings initiated against VAB Bank, which in 2014 obtained a UAH 1.2 billion loan from the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) as state support. The loan was to be used to improve the financial health of the bank so that it would not fail and depositors would not lose their money. Nevertheless, the loan was siphoned off from the bank via various schemes. There was practically no guarantee that the state would get its money back.

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) started investigating these and other facts. Suspects in this case were to have included Bakhmatyuk himself and Oleksandr Pysaruk, who was the NBU’s first deputy governor at that time.

From the first, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, in breach of procedural requirements, transferred the case to the National Police.

“If the NBU’s first deputy governor is implicated in a criminal case, this case has to be handled by the NABU and the SAPO,” said Andriy Savin, a lawyer at the Anti-Corruption Action Center. “The police have already investigated this case, removed important documents, and dropped the proceedings. Apparently, the purpose of the investigation was to collect and destroy evidence rather than establish who the suspects are. As a result, several volumes of the case simply rotted away.”

The NABU launched another investigation into the schemes involving the NBU loan. This time, however, it was Nazar Kholodnytskyi who dumped the case by sending it to the police. The case was “successfully” closed in August of the current year, as had been expected.

Another case against Bakhmatyuk implicates him in misappropriating UAH 1.1 billion from the state budget through companies that belong to AvangardCo IPL holding.

As early as 2017, the SAPO gave the police the case against AvangardCo IPL, Ukraine’s largest producer of eggs and egg products.

NABU detectives established that the holding’s companies conducted operations that created false grounds for claiming VAT refunds.

Nevertheless, that same year, Volodymyr Kryvenko, a deputy of SAPO Head Nazar Kholodnytskyi, sent this case, just like other similar cases, to the National Police. As a result, as early as in 2017, the police conducted an expert examination that allegedly failed to produce evidence against the said scheme, and the Prosecutor General closed the case.

Recently, SAPO Head Nazar Kholodnytskyi told journalists that he was prepared to discuss each case from our Register of Dumped Cases. There are already 22 cases in the register, including the cases against Bakhmatyuk that have been closed. This is the third time the Anti-Corruption Action Center has invited Kholodnytskyi to discuss each case in public.