Vladimir Klimenko, the owner of a public joint stock company “Ukrincom” (former JSC “Ukrinbank”)

Photo: Vladymyr Klymenko / Facebook

22 may 2018 the edition “GORDON” published an interview with the former head of the Board of one of the oldest Ukrainian Bank “Ukrinbank”, Sergei Meshcheryakov, who held the post for almost eight years, until 2010. Seven years ago, the banker and the lawyer left the Ukraine and moved to the United States.

In an interview to our edition Meshcheryakov recounted his version of events, according to which JSC “Ukrinbank” was captured by the raider senior Ukrainian officials. According to the banker, after he refused to scroll through dubious schemes for the withdrawal of funds in offshore, a lawsuit was filed several criminal cases and forced to leave the country. Among the individuals Meshcheryakov was accused of raider capture of financial institutions, mentioned Vladimir Klimenko, Chairman of the Board and head of Supervisory Board of “Ukrinbank” from 2010 to 2016, when the Bank was declared bankrupt and started liquidation procedures of financial institutions.

Vladimir Klimenko, who is now the owner of a public joint stock company “Ukrincom” (successor of “Ukrinbank”), addressed to the editor of the publication “GORDON” with a request to publish its response to allegations of Sergei Meshcheryakov. Publish a letter without abbreviations.

About the real role of Sergei Meshcheryakov in the fate of “Ukrinbank”, or Why the statements of the fugitive banker should be treated critically

23 may 2018 the Internet-the edition “GORDON” published material “Meshcheryakov: Putin before the elections in Ukraine may move their troops or to return part of the territory. In support of one of candidates”. In an interview with the former head of the Board of “Ukrinbank” Sergei Meshcheryakov accuses the former head of the national Bank Volodymyr Stelmakh, the former head of government and head of the Supervisory Board of “Ukrinbank” Vladimir Klimenko and ex-Deputy head of the SBU, Nikolay Gerasimenko alleged “raider seizure” of the financial institution, the withdrawal of refinancing and other offenses.

Moreover, he explicitly (and wrongly) call these people “criminal group”. A photo from the presentation of the book patron of Michel Tereshchenko “the First oligarch” in the building “Ukrinbank” in 2011 is positioned ostensibly as a “meeting” of that criminal group in 2014.

Using his right of reply, will explain his version of events, which tells Sergei Meshcheryakov, relying on facts and documents available as the ultimate beneficiary of the Bank and on information that became known to us in the framework of criminal proceedings on the abuse of Meshcheryakov his position at the head of the Board of “Ukrinbank”.

The main thesis of Sergey Meshcheryakov is that a change of leadership, and then shareholders “Ukrinbank” in 2009-2010 was the result of “raider attacks” with participation of the National Bank of Ukraine, and the ensuing criminal proceedings against him had been some “retaliation.” My answer is brief reads: that Sergey Meshcheryakov has brought the Bank to the state of bankruptcy in 2009, through a scheme of elimination of the refinancing and the uncontrolled granting of loans to companies unreliable. The new owner had to extinguish these debts and to return the Bank to the market.

Now for the facts.

“Israeli investors”

July 17 2002 Sergey Meshcheryakov really was appointed head of the Board of “Ukrinbank” and worked in that position until 24 February 2010. At the time of his appointment “Ukrinbank” took 29th place in the banking rating (out of 152 banks) with a profit of 5.73 million UAH and confidently worked in the financial market of Ukraine. The staff of the Bank included almost two thousand people, while the credit portfolio amounted to UAH 1.6 billion. However, it was the merit of the previous management of the Bank to which Meshcheryakov had no relationships.

In just three to four years, “effective control” Meshcheryakov actually brought the Bank to the state of bankruptcy. Understanding the complexity of the situation, he began to search for investors willing to buy the Bank.

According to Meshcheryakov, in 2006-2008, the Bank was looking for foreign investors, and only because the Bank was slow to permit the entry of investment, allegedly “broke” the deal for $200 million from an Israeli Bank Hapoalim.

This is a manipulative statement. Indeed, during this period the banking system of Ukraine showed interest in some foreign banks, including Bank Hapoalim. But that truthful information is ending. According to the NBU, an Israeli Bank made in Ukraine $135 million (not $200 million, according to Meshcheryakov) and conducted audit of several financial institutions is much more healthy and stable than the then “Ukrinbank”.

Approval of Meshcheryakov that for three years the Israelites were preparing to buy it “Ukrinbank”, is not true. The truth is that the Israelites were acquainted with the real state of Affairs in the “Ukrinbank” (which then led to Meshcheryakov), refused to purchase it.

Today Meshcheryakov’s trying to blame the failure of the deal with the Israelis, the national Bank, who allegedly demanded a bribe for issuing permission to purchase and pulled the matching documents. But in fact the cause of the failed investment was the financial crisis and the poor state of the Bank to which his machinations brought the institution Meshcheryakov.

The results of the audit

What are the causes of the financial problems that the Bank faced at the end of 2009 – early 2010, when he was forced to seek refinancing to the national Bank?

In 2010, we as the new owners of the Bank, conducted a full audit of the work of Meshcheryakov and found out that about any crystal clear reputation and no Western standards of doing business was out of the question. The Bank flourished corruption.

One of the most colorful was the scheme of launch funds through the payroll. Despite a direct prohibition of NBU on bonuses of Bank employees, abusing his official position, he forged official Bank documents on payment of premiums themselves. These amounts up to 1.2 million UAH per month. At the rate of 4-5 UAH/$ only for this scheme, according to the estimates of auditors and investigators, the Bank had withdrawn about $8 million.

Moreover, massively loans are issued under the unsecured bail. Only two of the largest transactions of this kind, the Bank has lost in this period, at least $20 million a List of smaller operations, where the collateral has not been controlled is in the hundreds of positions at hundreds of millions of hryvnia. Some loans we were able to close only recently.

Today Sergei Meshcheryakov said that in the midst of the crisis the Bank needed to refinance in the amount of $10-20 mln, the national Bank was not issued. Unfortunately for Sergei, the Bank has kept all the payment documents, which show: from April to July 2009, when Meshcheryakov was still head of the Board of “Ukrinbank”, the national Bank issued refinancing in UAH 362 million ($45 million at the rate of 8 UAH/$). According to the NBU’s audit, which was conducted within the routine inspection of a Bank, these funds were distributed to unknown companies, it is simply withdrawn from the Bank through shadow schemes.

This is completely contrary to the words of Meshcheryakov, which refinancing was allegedly granted AFTER the Bank changed shareholders (this happened in March 2010).

In fact, new shareholders, except for infusion of funds in the authorized capital of the Bank (about 415 million UAH), not only had to ask for more of the NBU refinancing of about 93 million UAH, but also to extinguish vanished into thin air, the debts of Meshcheryakov. The statement that he has closed all lines of credit and restored the solvency of the Bank before leaving, also false.

Statements by Meshcheryakov that all the refinancing was derived through shell companies, is not true, because in December 2012, all 430,4 million UAH was repaid early “Ukrinbank” the national Bank.

The reasons for the dismissal

The reason for the dismissal of Meshcheryakov was a letter of the national Bank, drawn up in address of the shareholders based on the results of planned inspections of the activities of the Board over the past four years in January 2010. In this letter to shareholders pointed out the need “to strengthen staff of the Bank,” which translated into plain language meant the dismissal of Meshcheryakov due to his inability to manage effectively risks of the Bank.

In fact, in the banking world is a “black mark”, that is, Meshcheryakov then could not hold senior positions in the banking system of Ukraine. At this time, the Bank has already occupied the 61st place in the ranking and had a multi-million dollar losses.

I invite the reader to read the document and make a conclusion about whether it could be “custom pressure”, which says Meshcheryakov, if reinforcements came to him the results of the inspection in a few fingers thick, where in detail described all questionable transactions and schemes for 2005-2009.

Only in 2009 and the two months of 2010, the Bank suffered a loss in the amount of about 72 million.

The new leadership of the Bank was developed and implemented a number of measures aimed at financial and personnel strengthening of the Bank. The staff was reduced by 50% and the loan portfolio was increased and reached 5 billion UAH.

On the basis of audit materials of the NBU, as well as on the basis of our internal audit new shareholders and a new Board has initiated a number of criminal cases not only against the Meshcheryakov, but also against members of the management Board, chief accountant, heads of branches in different regions of the country, which participated in the looting of “Ukrinbank” and bringing him to the verge of bankruptcy.

Today, criminal cases are at various stages of consideration, many of the defendants, realizing the cogency of the documentary evidence of their actions, agreed to cooperate with the investigation. Indeed, one of the cases recently closed by the public Prosecutor and this process is already challenged in court as illegal.

Mythical losses

For information about the damages allegedly caused to the state by operation of new shareholders in the period from 2010 to 2015, the information is not true.

Indeed, 2014-2015, was difficult for “Ukrinbank”, as well as to the entire financial system of the country. We lost assets in Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk regions, there was an outflow of capital, inflation began, the hryvnia against the U.S. dollar depreciated by 300%. But despite all of this, “Ukrinbank”, not having any hryvnia refinancing, kept in existing regulations and actively conduct its financial activities.

At the end of 2015, there was another inflation, and this took some leaders of the NBU and took an illegal decision, which contradicts the Constitution of Ukraine and current legislation (as proven in court).

After “Ukrincom” won the courts on the illegal introduction of “Ukrinbank” in 2015, the transitional administration and the illegal liquidation of the financial institution, we started to return to the guarantee Fund the funds spent on the payment to our depositors of the Deposit 200 thousand UAH. The first 100 million UAH, received from economic activity of PJSC “Ukrincom” has already been transferred to the Fund, work in cooperation with the Foundation continues.

Vladimir KLIMENKO,
the owner of public joint stock company “Ukrincom” (former JSC “Ukrinbank”).