NABU and SAPO have sent to court the first episode of the "Rotterdam Plus", accusing six persons of causing damages to electricity consumers worth over UAH 19 billion during 2016-2017. The actions of all the accused fall under Part 2 Article 364 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine ("Abuse of official position"). The representatives of the companies are additionally accused of abetting.
The suspects are*:
- the head of the National Energy and Utilities Regulatory Commission (NEURC);
- a member of the NEURC;
- the head of a NEURC division;
- the head of a NEURC department;
- the deputy commercial director of one of the companies of a group - key operator in Ukraine's heat generation market;
- the director of a department of one of the group's companies.
*positions as of crime date
As established, the so-called "Rotterdam Plus" formula, which was approved in 2016 by the NEURC to calculate the wholesale market price of electricity, contained expenses that never existed, namely the transportation of coal to Ukraine from the port in Rotterdam. This method of calculation in 2016-2017 made consumers overpay more than UAH 18 billion, which is confirmed by an expert examination. Damages incurred by the formula in 2018-2019 will be investigated in a separate proceeding.
As reported, the representatives of the group persuaded the NEURC to adopt such a calculation formula to receive excess profits. At first, the NEURC did not agree, realizing the absurdity of including transportation costs in the tariff, but in March 2016, it accepted the proposal. This resulted in an increase in electricity tariffs for industry, social infrastructure facilities, and entrepreneurs, which led to a rise in the price of goods and services for the final consumer, including basic necessities.
The "Rotterdam Plus" case is unique for many reasons: its complexity, the amount of damage, and the audacity of the crime in general. But there is another peculiarity – despite the conviction of the detectives that the "Rotterdam Plus" case was ready to go to court, it was closed several times.
NABU has repeatedly emphasized that the gathered evidence is sufficient, and only the court should assess it. That is why canceling the closure order by the new SAPO head was an important step toward an impartial prosecution and a fair sentence.
According to Article 62 of the Constitution of Ukraine, a person is considered non-guilty in the commission of a crime and cannot be subject to criminal punishment until he or she is found guilty by court.