Ukraine Top Court Issues Arrest Warrant for Former Banker

Published: 12 December 2022

Kyril ShevchenkoKyrylo Shevchenko, the 50-year-old Ukraine’s ex-central bank chief, is charged with playing a role in a scheme that stole funds from the state-owned JSC Ukrgasbank. (Photo: Liliya xWins, Wikimedia, License)

By Vinicius Madureira

Ukraine’s top court has issued an arrest warrant in absentia against Kyrylo Shevchenko, the  former head of Ukrgazbank, who is suspected of leading a corruption ring that embezzled more than US$5.5 million from the bank.

About two months ago, Ukraine’s national anti-corruption agency added Shevchenko to its wanted list along with two employees of the publicly owned Ukrgasbank, claiming they were involved in a multi-million embezzlement case.

Shevchenko, 50, is charged with playing a role in a scheme that authorized illegal payments to third-party intermediaries for bringing new clients to the bank.

Ukrainian authorities have been looking for Shevchenko since Oct. 6, when the country’s anti-corruption bureau notified him he was under suspicion.

Shevchenko was the chairman of the bank’s board from 2014 to 2020. During that period, Ukrainian authorities said, the scheme siphoned more than $5.5 million from the bank by paying individuals and legal entities to attract clients to the bank.

Although these services were never provided, Ukrgasbank paid monthly fees to various entities for the alleged services. The scheme is said to have created at least 52 fake agents, who received more than 1,000 payments from 2014 to 2020.

Shevchenko was charged with embezzlement for stealing funds from the Ukrgasbank along with five of his aides, who are former or current high-ranking officials of banking institutions.

Shevchenko was appointed to a new job as head of the National Bank of Ukraine in July 2020. Just over a year later, on Oct. 4, 2021, he submitted his resignation letter citing “health-related issues” in a Facebook post. Two days later, Ukraine’s national anti-corruption agency accused him of embezzling Ukrgasbank funds during his previous job.

In addition to denying any wrongdoing, his resignation letter denied any wrongdoing and said, “Dear friends, due to the health-related issues that cannot be ignored any longer, I made a difficult decision. I am resigning from my position as the NBU Governor.”