: Head of Ukraine's National Bank linked to offshore scandal: ICIJ investigation

17:57 Apr. 4, 2016

Head of Ukraine's National Bank linked to offshore scandal: ICIJ investigation

Valeriia Hontareva. (UNIAN Photo)

20 Ukrainians exposed in the 'Panama Papers' leak documents

Valeriya Hontareva, the head of Ukraine's National Bank reportedly had some business contacts with a high-ranking Russian official from the "Putin's Bank," who lent her hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars.

This was exposed in the so-called Panama Papers - the documents leaked from the Panama-based law firm 'Mossack Fonseca', which specializes in registering offshore companies.

Read also Revealed: Most high-profile offshore account holders in Eastern Europe, ex-Soviet states (GRAPHICS)

At the beginning of 2016 Hontareva said that there were banks with Russian capital in Ukraine. "If the National Security and Defence Council makes a decision regarding sanctions against these banks, we will implement it," said Hontareva.

Read also Kyiv Prosecutors open case against National Bank chief Gontareva

Journalists say, in 2006 Hontareva together with her husband founded the ICU financial group, which was registered in the British Virgin Islands. In 2013 the Russian Bank Avangard joined the ICU group.

According to the Mossack Fonseca, before August 2014 a quarter of ICU belonged to Galina Ulyutina, a wife of a Russian banker Yuri Solovyov (VTB, Russia's second-largest Bank). The ICU group received loans from the offshore accounts belonging to this Russian banker.

Read also A Lithuanian bank, named in Panama Papers, may be involved in schemes 

Cooperation between Hontareva and Solovyov ended in August 2014 when the Russian banker's wife sold her ICU share. Reporters linked the move with the fact that VTB fell under the U.S.and E.U. sanctions imposed against Russia's state sector (over the Kremlin's military intrusion in Ukraine.)

Hontareva, according to her press-service, sold her ICU share in June 2014, after joining Ukraine's National Bank. Her press-service says Hontareva no longer supports any business contacts with the Russian official Solovyov.

20 people connected with Ukraine have been exposed in the Panama Papers leak related to offshore holdings. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko is among them.

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