Several days ago 'Dzerkalo Tyzhnya' questioned the head of the economic section at the Japanese embassy in Kyiv about the recent criminal charges made against former PM Tymoshenko and her alleged misspending of hundreds of millions of euros received from the sale of carbon emission rights under the Kyoto Protocol.
"Can you comment on the situation surrounding accusations against Yulia Tymoshenko of misuse of funds received under the terms of Art. 17 of the Kyoto Protocol?
" We know that a criminal case has been opened against the former prime minister of Ukraine, and the Government of Japan will watch developments closely. We also believe that cooperation in this field (implementation of green investments) is extremely important for both countries. The Japanese side has received confirmation from National Environmental Investment Agency of Ukraine that these funds are protected from misuse.... after the recent media reports, we communicated with Ukrainian government agencies, in particular the NEIA, and received confirmation that the funds intended for environmental projects, are protected in full."
It is generally considered that, ahem...by 'gentlemen's agreement', the seller of quotas acquires high technology and ecologically-friendly equipment from the purchaser of the quota, i.e. the money makes its way back to the quota buyer in exchange for goods and services. The Japanese companies that made the payments may be pissed off that confidential agreements have been breached, that they have been dragged into Ukrainian political in-fighting, and may be still be expecting orders to be placed..
If the current Azarov government do not spend this money and honour Ukraine's side of the contracts, it will they who will be held responsible, and the Japanese side will be entitled to redress. According to DzT, it could all cost Ukraine half a billion Euro, minimum, and the chances of selling greenhouse gas emission quotas in the future destroyed.
Meanwhile the Ukrainian NEIA, the agency directly responsible "for executing the demands of the UN convention on climate change and introducing mechanisms envisaged by the Kyoto protocol..and realising projects for protecting the environment..." posted a statement on their site on 23rd December.
They claim they have frequent contact with Japanese and other counterparts - things are hunky dory '[good], and these meetings "are in no way linked to any criminal cases opened against Tymoshenko or others.... the mass media are using out-of-date information....as of today there is no threat to any agreed contract.... [but] it is hardly likely this situation will be maintained if in the future the mass media continue to systematically print unconfirmed or distorted information." [i.e. blame the media for everything..]
The risible case against Tymoshenko looks ever more like crude political repression.
Yanukovych is planning to visit Japan early next year. He may have some explaining to do.
p.s. The Japanese should have used PayPal...