Ukraine: Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's Ally Accused of Graft

Published: 09 October 2015


Ukraine’s Ihor Kotvitsky, a lawmaker from Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's People's Front party, has been accused of corruption for allegedly moving US$ 40 million to an offshore company through Ukraine’s state-owned Oshchadbank.

A Kyiv Post review of Kotvitsky’s 2014 assets declaration form found no such sum listed.

Serhiy Leshchenko, a member of Parliament for the Petro Poroshenko Bloc and a former journalist for Ukrainska Pravda, said that Kovitsky only declared the transaction six months past the legal deadline for doing so.

On Sept. 25, Leshchenko posted scanned copies of what he said were Kotvitsky’s original declaration and a corrected version on Ukrainska Pravda’s website.

Leschenko claims the documents showed that the cash was transferred to a Swiss bank account held by Panamanian company Kingston Group SA through Oshchadbank.

Both Kotvitsky and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov have brushed off the accusations.

“Leshchenko is a skilful manipulator,” said Avakov during a news conference in Kharkiv, adding that Kotvitsky was a “rigorous” taxpayer.

“For example, last year Kotvitsky paid 32 million Ukrainian hryvnia [US$ 1.49 million] of income tax. Everything else is manipulation,” claimed Avakov.

Kotvitsky told the Kyiv Post that “everyone distorts information in their own interests so much” that he did not wish to comment.

Oshchadbank denies any wrongdoing in making the transfer, claiming it had done its duty by reporting the transfer to the National Bank of Ukraine.

By Olena Goncharova in Kiev