Financial expert Aleksey Komakha claims that the ICU company where the incumbent Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Valeria Gontareva served as chairperson of the board of directors from 2007 to June 19, 2014, bought bonds of Russian VTB Bank and Prominvestbank (PIB) in 2013-2014, according to the Ukrainian-based media outlet RBC Ukraine.
”Market players say ICU bought bonds of Russian VTB and Prominvestbank (Vnesheconombank`s subsidiary) for about UAH 850 million in 2013-2014 before Gontareva was tapped to head the NBU… After she her appointment in June 2014, ICU continued to invest in corporate bonds of Russian banks … in particular, in the bonds of Russian Standard Bank (renamed Forward Bank) and Alfa Bank…,” the expert wrote on Facebook, RBC Ukraine reports.
In his opinion, ”if the NBU and Gontareva had initiated real sanctions like international ones, it would have clearly come as a `blow to the wallets` of the former business partners of the NBU head and ICU.”
”All these multi-million dollar agreements between ICU and the Russian banks in Ukraine are just the tip of the iceberg… There is also joint trade in government bonds on the stock exchange … Thus, it becomes clear why it took the NBU so much time to introduce the sanctions… Even those restrictions that have recently been imposed appear to be a distraction …” the financial analyst said.
Moreover, he believes that the Russian banks` troubles could have well affected Gontareva`s personal income.
”As it is known, co-owners of ICU [Kostiantyn] Stetsenko and Makar Pasenyuk have not yet fully paid for the assets acquired from the NBU governor… Gontareva received about UAH 100 million from the ex-partners in 2014-2016. Last year, UAH 52 million was paid to her. There are two more installments that are pending… Could the `regulator` in such a situation interfere with the joint business of ICU and the Russian banks? Perhaps this is another reason why Gontareva praises the `activity` of the Russian banks in every possible way, periodically bails them out through refinancing, and she even cannot figure out which country the owners of Alfa Bank come from,” the expert wrote.
As UNIAN reported, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on March 16 enacted sanctions of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine against five banks with Russian capital, namely Sberbank PJSC; VTB Bank PJSC; Prominvestbank PJSC; BM Bank PJSC; and VS Bank PJSC.
The sanctions prohibit any financial transactions involving the transfer of funds to parent banks, including a ban on asset-related transactions that are carried out directly or indirectly (provision of interbank loans, deposits, subordinated debt, securities purchases, depositing funds in correspondent accounts, etc.).
They also foresee a ban on dividend and interest payments, repayment of interbank loans/deposits, withdrawal of funds from correspondent accounts, and repayment of subordinated debt; profit distribution; and allocation of capital.
However, the sanctions will not affect settlements between residents and their foreign counterparties that hold accounts in the parent banks and will not prevent Ukrainian banks from meeting their obligations to their customers and bank depositors.