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Ucraína

Máis de mil millóns de dólares das débedas de Mykola Lahun poderían ser transferidas ás Forzas Armadas de Ucraína

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In the conditions of a total shortage of funds for the war and social expenses and dependence on foreign financial aid, Ukraine’s government does not use all of the opportunities for additional replenishment of the state treasury – reports A UE hoxe.

Unha desas fontes poderían ser os activos dos oligarcas ucraínos que estiveron retirando fondos do país durante os últimos 10-15 anos. Por exemplo, os danos causados ​​polas actividades do antigo propietario do Delta Bank Mykola Lahun (na imaxe) estímase entre 1.2 e 1.4 millóns de dólares. En cambio, o Estado parece indiferente ante tal posibilidade, tolerando en realidade o intento de evitar o pago da débeda.

A finais de abril de 2024 deuse a coñecer sobre a transferencia a Ucraína do primeiro lote de axuda militar do goberno estadounidense como parte dun gran paquete por valor de 61 millóns de dólares. 

O custo do lote é duns 1 millóns de dólares. Incluía mísiles para sistemas de defensa aérea, munición para HIMARS, mísiles antitanque TOW, sistemas antitanque Javelin e lanzagranadas antitanque, Bradley e outros vehículos blindados, HMMWV e vehículos de apoio loxístico, munición de aviación de alta precisión, apoio ao aeródromo. equipos, minas, equipos de busca de minas, dispositivos de visión nocturna, metralladoras e outras municións, pezas de reposición, etc. 

Esta longa lista ofrece unha comprensión aproximada da cantidade de armas que se poden mercar por 1 millóns de dólares. Cada un destes millóns é moi importante para a Ucraína hoxe.

En cambio, de ter a oportunidade de recibir unha cantidade similar e quizais aínda maior de fondos para as necesidades do exército a través do pago das débedas dun dos magnates, as autoridades parecen ignoralo. 

propaganda

O asunto refírese ao caso de alto perfil do antigo propietario de Delta Bank, o empresario Mykola Lahun, que causou perdas de polo menos 1.2 millóns de dólares a Ucraína no período transcorrido desde principios da década de 2010 e agora agóchase en Austria. 

Instead of collecting debts from Lahun, the courts in Ukraine systematically lead him to personal bankruptcy – a relatively new procedure that allows to partially or completely get rid of the debts of an individual and in fact – in the case of Lahun – transfer them to the shoulders of taxpayers.

Lahun é a segunda fonte de danos para o estado despois do controvertido oligarca Ihor Kolomoisky. 

Non obstante, se desde principios da década de 1990, o propietario do Grupo Privat tiña activos no sector real da economía, incluíndo petróleo e gas, industrias metalúrxicas e mineiras, entón o banqueiro Lahun inflou a súa burbulla fraudulenta unicamente con base na base financeira. abusos. 

Ao mesmo tempo, comezou a ocultar os seus activos nas xurisdicións occidentais desde finais da década de 2000 e fíxoo con habilidade, non sen a axuda do liderado do Banco Nacional de Ucraína (NBU). Os seus esquemas alcanzaron o seu pico durante a presidencia de Viktor Yanukovich. A foto demostra un caso deste tipo, a saber, un recibo económico, que dá unha idea das cantidades coas que operou Lahun durante estes anos.

Quen é Lahun e de que se lle acusa?

“The rise and bankruptcy of Delta Bank is usually described in two ways. One story is about an audacious businessman who was unlucky. The other is about a bunch of swindlers who, until the right opportunity, successfully imitated the booming banking activity,” the Ukrainian edition of Forbes escribiu about Lahun in September 2020, narrating the entrepreneur’s story.

According to the publication, in the early 2000s, Lahun owned 10% of Ukrsotsbank, when the son-in-law of Ukraine’s ex-president Leonid Kuchma, Viktor Pinchuk, bought it from another oligarch, Valeriy Khoroshkovsky. 

Tamén pediu diñeiro prestado a Pinchuk para crear a súa propia institución financeira. Delta Bank foi lanzado en 2006 cunha aposta polo mercado de préstamos de punto de venda ao 50-80 por cento ao ano nas tendas de electrodomésticos. 

After the crisis of 2008, when it became more difficult to issue such loans, Lahun began to build a model of a “normal” bank by buying other financial institutions. 

For example, in 2010, in this way the American corporation Cargill became a shareholder of Delta Bank – it worked with Ukrprombank, which Lahun bought. Subsequently, he also acquired the medium-sized Kreditprombank, which was supposed to be his pass to corporate clients from Donbas (the industrial heartland of Ukraine), as it belonged to the second-tier tycoons there. Later, he bought several more banks, accumulating debts. 

Lahun’s Delta Bank became an exact copy of Russia’s Delta Bank because it was created on the initiative and with the funds of the Russian investment fund Icon Private Equity, which at that time was headed by Kirill Dmitriev. Nowadays, Kirill Dmitriev is one of the top Russian officials closest to Putin and is under U.S. sanctions.

Os primeiros problemas apareceron inmediatamente co estalido da Revolución da Dignidade, cando os depositantes comezaron a retirar os seus fondos do banco. A finais do ano, a metade da carteira de créditos estaba clasificada como morosidade. 

The bank started to obtain the refinancing from the NBU. The total amount of the NBU loan was 9 billion hryvnas. Half of the funds were converted into foreign currency and taken abroad. After the occupation of Crimea, the loans of the clients there were lost. The same fate awaited the bank’s portfolio in Donbas.

Despite the partnership with Cargill, the situation worsened, the bank did not find money for its own recapitalisation. Delta Bank continued to “suck” refinancing from the National Bank. Crowds of depositors began to gather near the bank’s offices following rumours of Lahun’s arrest. 

At the end of October 2014, the NBU declared the bank insolvent and appointed a supervisor. The National Bank was ready to nationalise the bank – Ukraine’s parliament even allocated about $1 billion for recapitalisation. However, the problems were so deep that in March 2015 the bank was withdrawn from the market.

Further investigations showed that Lahun and the bank’s management had been systematically deceiving the regulator since 2011 by creating dozens of fictitious offshore companies to withdraw funds. The bank’s authorised capital increased only on paper. The bank’s international accounts were emptied back in 2013, while false confirmations of available money were submitted to the NBU. 

Working loans “collapsed” with large deposits of companies, because of which rights of claim for dozens of loans in the mortgage institution and Oschadbank were lost, which was later recognised as illegal. A number of assets were bought without document analysis. To withdraw deposits during the crisis, they were “shredded” into smaller amounts. Even at the end of 2014, the bank continued to withdraw funds through the foreign institutions Bank Winter, Meinl Bank, and Bank Frick.

A foto (esquerda) demostra un destes casos, concretamente un recibo económico, que dá unha idea das cantidades coas que operou Lahun durante estes anos.

Segundo as estimacións do Fondo de Garantía de Depósitos de Ucraína, as perdas totais causadas por Delta Bank e Lahun debido ao pago de depósitos bancarios polo fondo, préstamos de refinanciamento non reembolsados, promesas retiradas, débedas con bancos estatais a partir de 2019 estimáronse en 36 millóns de UAH (naquel momento, uns 1.4 millóns de dólares). A cantidade de danos, que se pode determinar en función das publicacións dos medios de materiais de procesos penais, é proporcional: uns 1.2 millóns de dólares.

De acordo coa datos da edición ucraína NV, Lahun ten unha serie de negocios activos tanto en Ucraína como en Crimea que non están controlados polas autoridades ucraínas. Por exemplo, o asunto refírese a urbanizacións en Yalta, empresas agrícolas, miles de hectáreas de terras agrícolas preto de Sevastopol que estaban rexistradas baixo a lei rusa. 

“Lahun could retain his land ownership on the leased land, and at the same time not lose the shares of the company itself, only if he had (and still has) Russian citizenship”, NV journalists said. In addition, according to the data of open registers, Lahun is directly or indirectly affiliated with a number of companies that were created in the period from 2004 to 2012 with the participation of him and his sister Antonina – these are construction, development, and financial businesses.

O caso da bancarrota

Despite the fact that the abuses and damage caused by Lahun had long been known, his affairs were invigorated only during the second year of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine upholds the state prosecution in three major proceedings, which were sent to court only in 2023. They are related to the embezzlement of large sums of money and tax evasion. In one of the cases – № 761/8406/23 – Lahun was finally declared wanted in October 2023 for failure to appear in court. Although, for example, the head of the board of his bank, Olena Popova, has been on the wanted list since 2017.

O propio Lahun non está de brazos cruzados. No verán de 2023 decidiu declararse en quebra como persoa física para non pagar todas as débedas con varios acredores. A declaración refírese á imposibilidade de pagar débedas por 7.7 millóns de UAH. Proponse cancelar pasivos por uns 6 millóns de UAH, xa que a situación financeira actual supostamente non permite que o banqueiro pague as débedas.

A lista de bens que Lahun propón usar para liquidacións cos acredores inclúe pisos e terreos en Crimea, terreos nas rexións de Kiev e Chernihiv, títulos de empresas relacionadas con Delta Bank, así como unha colección de reloxos de pulso de decenas de marcas diferentes, incluíndo Omega, Panerai Luminor, Rolex, Greubel Forsey, Audemars Piguet, FP Journe, Girard Perregaux e outros. Un total de 240 reloxos incautáronse nun dos procesos penais. Ademáis, sábese from media reports that Lahun got a job in 2022 and transfers his “salary” of UAH 14,000 per month to repay the debt to the state-owned Oschadbank, which reaches UAH 4.5 billion.

However, it seems that the list of property belonging to the financier is significantly underestimated. In 2019-2020, the Deposit Guarantee Fund hired the international company DWF Law to search for Lahun’s foreign assets. However, they will be ready to publicize the results of its work only in the event of a public dispute about bankruptcy, to which the fund will be a party. 

“Back in 2021, Iryna Venedyktova, who at that time held the post of prosecutor general, announced the seizure of Lahun’s assets in the amount of almost UAH 790 million. In particular, the matter concerns 200 land plots in different regions of Ukraine, and $1 million was also “frozen” in an account in one of the Swiss banks,” the mente.ua publicación dito. Lahun’s business in Crimea and in the controlled territory of Ukraine, which is registered with his relatives, is still operating.

The Economic Court of Kyiv initially refused to open a case at the request of Lahun. However, the Northern Court of Appeal – the court of the second instance – cancelado esta decisión e, en cambio, decidiu remitila de novo ao Tribunal Económico de Kiev para a súa revisión. 

Actualmente, o caso foi solicitado polo Tribunal de Casación do Tribunal Supremo en base á denuncia do Banco Nacional e do banco estatal Ukrexim. Esta é a terceira instancia de recurso. 28 de maio de 2024, o Tribunal de Casación comezara audiencias para permitir que se inicie o caso de bancarrota de Lahun dándolle a oportunidade de cancelar as súas débedas. Espérase que a decisión final do tribunal sexa anunciada a finais de xuño.

Se se abre un caso de quebra, o tribunal terá que introducir unha moratoria para satisfacer as demandas de todos os acredores, así como nomear un xestor para a reestruturación da débeda. 

This will mean that the return of more than $1.2 billion in debts that Lahun now owes to the state of Ukraine and which are so necessary for defence and ensuring financial stability in conditions of constant dependence on foreign financial aid will become even more illusory. Instead of real assets, the state will receive “virtual watches,” which looks more like a slap in the face than a real solution to the debt issue.

It is worth noting that at the same time, the financier’s lawyers are trying to use the so-called “Lozovoy amendments” (a number of amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine proposed by MP Andriy Lozovoy) to close as many criminal cases as possible based on the expiration of the statute of limitations for their investigations. This will allow Lahun to live a vida tranquila en Occidente no futuro, utilizar activos estranxeiros e posiblemente incluso crear novos negocios. Despois de todo, o seu historial criminal será limpo, e a súa reputación pode volverse impecable.

O exemplo do oligarca Ihor Kolomoisky, que tamén levou ao enorme PrivatBank a un estado previo á bancarrota e foi acusado de abusos multimillonarios, demostra que a vontade política é capaz de levar ante a xustiza a defraudadores financeiros máis grandes que Lahun. 

Ademais, os medios de comunicación ucraínos repetidamente apuntados to the fact that law enforcement agencies are able to achieve significant results in other cases, for example, that of the agricultural baron Oleh Bakhmatiuk, who is also hiding in Vienna. Since state officials also helped Lahun to loot the bank and state refinancing funds, we can’t but agree that in this situation, the intensification of the investigation into the case by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine could significantly weaken the position of the former banker and minimise the risks of getting away with this, speed up the search and confiscation of international assets.

So, amid the constant search for new sources for external financing of the huge budget deficit and the army’s desperate need for weapons, the question arises, why are the Ukrainian authorities actually ignoring how the former owner of Delta Bank escapes responsibility?

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