In an exclusive interview with Kyiv Post, Mark Savchuk, the Head of the Supervisory Council of the Anti-Corruption Agency in Ukraine (NABU), commented on recent legal cases against the technocrats Andriy Pyvovarsky and Andriy Kobolev.

 "The cases against Kobolev on the bonus after the Stockholm arbitrage and that gained by Pyvovarsky on the deregulation reform he implemented are questionable. The Supervisory Council thinks that law enforcement agencies are wrong in how they view the law," he said.

 On 18 January, the NABU and the SAP reported that Kobolev was suspected of embezzling over Hr 229 million in 2018.

 According to the NABU, former Naftogaz board chairman Kobolev illegally received Hr 261million based on a decision of the supervisory board to pay him a bonus for extraordinary achievements. This payment was part of the bonuses accrued to the company's management in May 2018 for Naftogaz's historic victory over Russia's Gazprom in the Stockholm arbitration.

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 Savchuk commented: "The Ukrainian state company gained $4,6 billion, so no harm has been done. Those additional funds were then invested into Naftogaz infrastructure or paid out to the state via dividends.Actually, the reverse is true – this team brought a lot of money to Ukraine and gained a lot of respect from the EU because they overcame one of the biggest global oil and gas companies. To say that person who achieved this did so corruptly is weird. In my opinion, law enforcement agencies are making a mistake".

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 On 23 January, the Supreme Administrative Court refused to grant the NABU investigator's request to take Kobolev into custody. However, on 1 March an appeal to the High Anti-Corruption Court overturned the previous court’s ruling and set bail at Hr 229 million.

 Additionally, Savchuk believes the case against former minister Pyvovarsky's case, which revolved around deregulation, was also flawed. His view is that the investigation should look at the complex effect on the economy after the implementation of the deregulation reforms.

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 "If deregulation leads to increasing business activities and more profit for Ukraine than before, this shows a positive case for deregulation. When you conduct deregulation reform, it should be expected that deregulated government revenue streams will reduce during the next year but, thereafter, the overall net budget benefit will be higher than before deregulation," he said.

 The head of NABU's supervisory council believes that law enforcement agencies need to understand the bigger picture in order to enforce the law fairly and precisely.

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