Ukraine Bank Prominvest Receiver 'Blockaded'

KIEV, Ukraine -- The receiver of Ukraine's sixth-largest bank was trapped in his office on Monday and prevented from announcing a proposed plan to revive the bank with the government's involvement, a bank official said.

A woman walks in front of the main office of Prominvestbank.

Members of parliament confined receiver Volodymyr Krotyuk to his office as he was due to address a news conference, Andriy Shvets, part of the receiver's team, told waiting reporters.

"The press conference cannot take place for technical reasons -- the management of the temporary administrators is blockaded by members of parliament," Shvets said.

Shvets would not identify the parliamentarians blockading the receiver. The central bank declined all comment.

Prominvest, in receivership since October after a run on its deposits, was to have been bought by an Austrian holding company, Slav AG, controlled by two Ukrainian members of parliament -- brothers Andriy and Serhiy Klyuyev.

But the brothers failed to meet last week's deadline for payment.

Before the news conference, Krotyuk's press service issued a statement saying international auditor Deloitte&Touche was studying the bank's finances "after which a realistic estimate of the size of bank's assets will be made".

"After this assessment, the temporary administrator will establish a programme of financial revival with government participation and submit it for central bank approval," it said.

The brothers agreed to increase Prominvest's capital by 900 million hryvnias ($120 million) via a share issue and raise an extra 3.6 billion hryvnias through deposits or subordinated debt but twice failed to meet payment deadlines.

Prominvest said a steep fall in the value of the hryvnia currency had complicated the transaction. The last deadline set by the administrator for payment was Dec. 8.

Prominvest remains barred from allowing withdrawals, affecting ordinary depositors and heavy industry businesses traditionally financed by the bank.

Such blockades are not uncommon, especially in ownership rows. Ukraine's largest refinery was taken over by a former head and armed men last year and two years ago members of parliament blockaded the prosecutors office in a row over its top staff.

Source: Guardian UK

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