As an IMF team flies to Kyiv, their former colleague, Oleksandr Pysaruk, is awaiting bail. Pysaruk worked at the IMF for three years, leaving in August to join an Austrian-owned Raiffeisen Bank Aval as chairman, writes UBN.
Psyaruk’s detention Monday stems from his 2014-2015 stint at the National Bank of Ukraine, where he served as First Deputy Governor. The detention of one of Ukraine’s most respected bankers at the time of the arrival of the IMF is not a coincidence, some analysts say.
The IMF is pressuring Ukraine’s new government to go after former bank owners to retrieve assets that evaporated during the 2014-2015 banking crisis. In the Pysaruk case, arrest warrants were issued Monday for eight people – three former National Bank of Ukraine officials and five former executives of VAB bank.
The National Anti-Corruption Bureau, or NABU, charges that Pysaruk and his colleagues with approving a $50 million emergency loan to the failing bank. As the central bank number two, Pysaruk worked with then-Governor Valeria Gontareva to close almost 100 insolvent banks.
Today, Gontareva lives in self-exile in London, complaining of death threats and refusing to return to Ukraine. “Terror is intensifying,” she said of Pysaruk’s detention. “He and I were cleaning all these Augean stables.” The central bank has rallied behind Pysaruk.
Yakiv Smoliy, the current bank governor, cut short an overseas trip and flew home. The bank’s top leadership went to court on Tuesday and offered to cover bail for the three former officials. Pysaruk’s bail was set at $1.25 million. The central bank said in a statement: “He stood at the source of the banking-sector reform, thanks to which we have healthy, transparent and reliable banks now.”
Foreign business leaders are reacting negatively to the arrest of a well-known banking figure. Before joining the central bank during the banking crisis, Pysaruk worked almost a decade for ING.