On March 15, 2021, the Detectives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau under the procedural guidance of SAPO served notices of suspicion of embezzlement of UAH 8.2 billion to ex-board chairman, his ex-deputy, and the head of the Interbank Operations Department of PrivatBank PJSC. Their actions fall under Part 5 Article 191 (Misappropriation, embezzlement, or conversion of property by malversation committed in respect of an especially gross amount, or by an organized group) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
As the investigation has revealed, in December 2016, on the eve of the nationalization of PrivatBank, the then chairman of the bank ordered to transfer USD 314.9 million from a correspondent account opened in one of the European banks as repayment of debt on previously issued letters of credit to two agro-traders.
To cover up the actual embezzlement of PrivatBank's funds and give the appearance of legality to this criminal scheme, former high-ranking bank officials forged bank documents and carried out fictitious lending to a legal entity related to the bank. Thus, the entity became a debtor for exactly the amount that had been withdrawn due to the repayment of letters of credit to other companies.
This scheme is the second episode in PrivatBank's top management criminal activity exposed by the NABU Detectives. The first one concerned a scheme used to withdraw almost UAH 140 million through an insurance company controlled by the former beneficiaries of the bank.
In total, five persons have been prosecuted in both episodes so far: the ex-PrivatBank board chairman, two of his ex-deputies, and two former heads of bank's departments. The ex-PrivatBank chairman is a suspect in both episodes. The property of the suspects is currently under temporary arrest to be further used to compensate for the damages.
The pre-trial investigation is underway.
According to Article 62 of the Constitution of Ukraine, a person is considered not-guilty in the commission of a crime and cannot be subject to criminal punishment until he or she is found guilty by court.