Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers has submitted to parliament a revised bill on banking regulations needed to meet requirements set by the International Monetary Fund for a new lending package as the country’s feeble economy braces for the effects of the coronavirus outbreak.

The bill appeared on the legislature’s website on March 24 and was agreed by the central bank and Finance Ministry.

Its aim is to protect the nation’s interests following a decision to nationalize insolvent or troubled banks and prevent tycoons from regaining control over their former assets.

Local media have reported that an extraordinary parliamentary session to vote on the bill could be held on March 26 or later this week.

While the bill could have broad implications in Ukraine, it is widely known that its main purpose is to prevent Ihor Kolomoyskiy, the former co-owner of PrivatBank, from regaining ownership rights to the bank.

Most of the 103 banks that were either nationalized or had their licenses revoked in 2014-16 were found to have been used as personal piggy banks by their former owners, who engaged in widespread third-party lending.

U.S.-based corporate investigative firm Kroll and attorneys at AlixPartners had found a hole of at least $5.5 billion on PrivatBank’s balance sheet.

Kolomoyskiy has denied wrongdoing and maintains he is the rightful owner of PrivatBank.

Ukraine has been in talks with the IMF for months about a three-year, $5.5 billion loan tied to reforms to help the country meet a spike in debt repayments this year.

Ukraine is likely to need to borrow even more money internationally as it increases spending to fight the spread of the coronavirus and support companies and individuals negatively affected by the potential economic fallout.

Ukraine recorded 13 additional coronavirus cases on March 24, bringing the nationwide total to 97. Three deaths have been attributed to the disease known as COVID-19.



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