EEMEA: PrivatBank suffers legal setback in bid to recover missing billions
Judge throws out claim in English court; lender on track for first full-year profit since nationalization.
Efforts to recover billions of dollars allegedly stolen from Ukraine’s PrivatBank suffered a setback on December 4 when a judge in London threw out a $1.9 billion fraud claim against the bank’s former owners.
PrivatBank was taken over by the Ukrainian government in December 2016 after its main shareholders, Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Bogolyubov, defied repeated demands to recapitalize the bank and restructure huge portfolios of related-party loans.
An investigation by US consultancy Kroll subsequently backed claims by Ukrainian authorities that $5.5 billion had gone missing from the bank, which held over a third of the country’s retail deposits.
In December 2017, PrivatBank secured a worldwide freezing order from the High Court in London on more than $2.5 billion of assets belonging to Kolomoisky, Bogolyubov and six companies associated with them.
This represented an amount – plus interest – that PrivatBank’s lawyers claimed had been stolen from the lender by its former shareholders in 2014 in a series of transactions funnelled through a network of shell companies, three of which were registered in the UK.