Kolo­moisky test case

Kyiv Post - - Opinion -

It's not a good sign that bil­lion­aire oli­garch Ihor Kolo­moisky feels con­fi­dent enough to re­turn to Ukraine af­ter two years in self-ex­ile. Who's next? Ex­iled oli­garch Dmytro Fir­tash, who con­tin­ues to fight ex­tra­di­tion to the United States from ex­ile in Aus­tria on cor­rup­tion charges that he denies? Mem­bers of Vik­tor Yanukovych's gang that al­legedly stole $40 bil­lion dur­ing the ex-pres­i­dent's time in power from 2010–2014?

The first test for Pres­i­dent-elect Volodymyr Ze­len­skiy will be to in­stall a pros­e­cu­tor gen­eral who can open a long over­due and much-needed crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the al­leged $5.6 bil­lion bank fraud in­volv­ing Pri­vatBank. By the time the state took over Ukraine's largest fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion from Kolo­moisky, tax­pay­ers were stuck with the tab — part of the gi­gan­tic $20 bil­lion bank fraud in the Yanukovych era.

We be­lieve ex-Na­tional Bank of Ukraine gov­er­nor Va­le­ria Gontareva when she told the Kyiv Post in 2016 that "70 per­cent or 80 per­cent of cases are just sim­ple fraud or money laun­der­ing. You do not need any high-qual­ity foren­sic pro­fes­sion­als. We’ve al­ready doc­u­mented all this fraud and money laun­der­ing."

The four ob­struc­tion­ists who have served as pros­e­cu­tors gen­eral since the EuroMaidan Rev­o­lu­tion ousted Yanukovych have pro­tected the cor­rup­tion­ists, not pros­e­cuted them.

All of this has to change — and now — with the fir­ing of Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­eral Yuriy Lut­senko and the re­place­ment of him with cred­i­ble crime fighters. Ze­len­skiy will be chal­lenged on many fronts and he must rise to the oc­ca­sion. Of all his pri­or­i­ties, seek­ing jus­tice must be high on the list.

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