Saturday, March 24, 2007

Back-stabbing in the bank boardroom

Oleksandr Morozov was sacked from his job as the head of Ukrainian national savings bank 'Oshchadbank' last Monday. I've posted previously on the attempts of 'Regionaly' to get their hands on this important state asset.

Morozov had been financial director of Yushchenko's NU bloc in 2002. Oleh Rybachuk, one of the top OR field commanders and a close aide of Yushchenko, was also sacked from the position of head of the bank's supervisory council.

Today Morozov is interviewed by 'Ukrainska Pravda' [In Ukrainian & Russian] and exposes a tangled web of power struggles so typical of contemporary Ukraine.

He claims that the Klyuyev brothers, who seem to be behind the forced change of management, have an unexpected ally in the ousting of the orange management of bank - the newly-appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and Yushchenko confidante Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Apparently Morozov, when he was CEO of Oshchadbank, had denied Yatsenkyuk's requests for finance. The latter had been first deputy head of President Yushchenko's secretariat at the time.

Morozov is challenging his dismissal in the courts, claiming he is interested only in clearing his name of any impropriety.

He says he is proud that under his management, all procedures for obtaining credit and tendering operations were completely transparent. Even when new members of the supervisory council were appointed he proposed they attend any sessions of credit and tendering committees.

Now he fears that "Oshchadbank" will return the times when it was 'leased out' to the Social Democrats [close allies of Kuchma.]

He describes an extremely brief meeting with a boorish deputy PM Andriy Klyuyev, and suggests that Klyuyev has a difficult relationship with one of Yanukovych's closest aides Serhiy Lyovochkin with whom Morozov had friendly ties when they were both young bankers.

He claims that in several recent meetings with Yanukovych the PM expressed satisfaction with the way Oshchadbank was being run, and that he felt secure in his position as the bank's head. Even now, he does not feel that Yanukovych was responsible for his downfall.

Prior to Morozov's appointment he claims Oshchadbank had given credits in exchange for part of share capital of private businesses - of people who controlled the bank at that time.

The questioner asks Morozov if it is true that half a year ago, Yatsenyuk came to Oshchadbank with a request for money to fund a project under the aegis of the first lady of the Ukraine, and that Morozov turned this request down, so spoiling his relations with pres.

He guardedly replies, "Me and Yatsenyuk discussed the possibility of participation of "Oshchadbank" in financing humanitarian projects."

The interviewer suggests that Morozov's sacking was part of a deal whereby Yatsenyuk convinced Yushchenko give up his people from the management of Oshchadbank in exchange for preserving control over 'Ukreksimbank' into which Yatsenkiuk's men would be placed.

Morozov says that he has heard from several sources that on the minutes of the supervisory council meeting at which it was decided he would be sacked, the last signature on the list of supervisory council members present was that of Yan Bernazyuk, a close associate of Yatsenyuk. This despite Bernazyuk's absence at that session of the supervisory council.

He gives a broad hint that he was 'stitched up' by a "trio of the Petrovychs" - both the Klyuyevs, and also Yatsenyuk share that same patronymic.

One of Ukraine's biggest savings banks is now controlled by the chief organisers of the attempted 2004 presidential election steal.
ps Check out this tidy British website for info on Ukraine.

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