Tymoshenko calls on IMF not to finance RosUkrEnergo 'corruption'

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Dec. 9, 2010, 10:19 a.m. | Op-ed — by Yulia Tymoshenko

Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko on Dec. 8 during a press conference in Kyiv called on the directors of the International Monetary Fund not to fund Ukraine until the completion of an independent investigation into corruption in Ukraine's energy sector.
© (Peter Byrne)

Yulia Tymoshenko

Editor’ Note: The following is a letter written to the International Monetary Fund by ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and released at a Dec. 8 news conference. She is asking for the IMF to withhold further installments of a $15 billion loan, alleging it will be effectively used to further “an international corruption fraud’’ involving state payments to RosUkrEnergo, the shadowy gas intermediary co-owned by Dmytro Firtash. RosUkrEnergo recently won a Stockholm arbitration court ruling declaring that Ukraine must return 11 billion cubic meters in natural gas to RosUkrEnergo. Attempts to reach Firtash or his assistants were not immediately successful. First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to the International Monetary Fund for its longstanding cooperation with Ukraine that was especially important during the global financial crisis in 2008-2009. I am sure that the cooperation between Ukraine and the IMF will continue for the sake of real reforms and public finances recovery.

In the joint IMF-Ukraine programs, considerable attention has been paid to the balancing of the budget and obtaining its optimal deficit, a significant part of which is curtailment of unreasonable public expenses. The most important condition of the successful cooperation program realization is transparency and accountability of the public finances.

An integral part of Ukraine’s state budget is the balance of the state-owned joint stock company Naftogaz. Unfortunately, I must state that today the company is entangled into an international corruption fraud.

The basis of the corruption scandal is the illegal transfer of public funds in the amount of $5.4 billion to shadow company RosUkrEnergo. The amount, which constitutes 10 percent of Ukraine’s national debt, will completely unbalance the public finances and lead to the bankruptcy of Ukraine’s gas transportation system. As a result, this will pose a threat to the energy stability of Europe.

The order of this shadowy international transaction has been already approved by the Resolution of the Government No. 1061, dated Nov. 15, which will go down in Ukraine’s history as the largest financial crime.

As you understand, the financial resources that are being provided to Ukraine by the IMF will in general balance subsidize and finance this crime. Instead of the desirable curtailment of the Naftogaz deficit and relief of its dependence on the state financial support, they will be significantly increased.

Ukrainian authorities will justify their actions by the decision of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. Without questioning the court’s international authority, one must understand that it was not a legal proceeding in which Ukraine conscientiously defended its positions. There was a corruption conspiracy between the new Ukrainian government and the shadow company, RosUkrEnergo, against Ukraine -- framed behind the back of Ukraine’s people.

I would like to address to you with a proposition to send a monitoring group to Ukraine that will examine the situation before the disbursement of the next tranche to Ukraine, and to foresee in the memorandum on cooperation with Ukraine on the voluntary abandonment of the Ukrainian authorities of the financing of the corruption transaction connected with RosUkrEnergo.

During the difficult post-crisis period, it is very hard for Ukraine’s people to live, work and repay credits to IMF, which will later be transferred to mafia structures. I know that other IMF donor countries also have difficult times after the crisis. It would be unfair if taxpayers of the IMF donor countries finance corruption schemes on the post-Soviet space.

The fraud with public funds that is taking place simultaneously with disbursement of the IMF credit to Ukraine directly contradicts the values and essence of fund’s mission in the world.

The Ukrainian and international communities are well-informed about the activity of RosUkrEnergo and its founders, among which are some odious figures sought by the FBI. A special investigation of its activity was carried out by an international NGO Global Witness. The detailed information about its founders was also set forth in the materials published both by the Ukrainian and international media.

The Ukrainian society counts on your objective response, as well as fair, and professional actions by the IMF Board of Directors.

Sincerely yours,

Yulia Tymoshenko

Former Prime Minister of Ukraine
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