Interview 2022-05-19T04:03:35+03:00
Ukrainian news
"We Will Protect Investors, Both Foreign And Domestic" - Verkhovna Rada Interim Investigative Commission On In

"We Will Protect Investors, Both Foreign And Domestic" - Verkhovna Rada Interim Investigative Commission On Investors' Rights Protection Chair Halyna Yanchenko

On January 27, the press center of the Ukrainian News Agency hosted a press conference "The Embassy of the Slovak Republic asks Ukraine to protect foreign investments in the amount of UAH 100 million."

The subject of the conference was the situation with the attempted raider takeover of the Frunze 69 LLC enterprise, which was acquired in 2019 by Slovak investors.

Ukrainian News Agency talked about the events around the enterprise with the Member of the Verkhovna Rada, the chairman of the Interim Investigative Commission on Investors' Rights Protection Halyna Yanchenko.

Tell us briefly about the situation around Frunze 69 LLC.

In October 2019, the investor VI GROUP UA LLC became the 100% owner of Frunze 69 LLC, which owns a building with an area of 5,760.7 square meters at 69 Kyrylivska St. Thus, the beneficial owners of the company - citizens of Slovakia Dushka Richard and Dushka Yurai - became actual owners of the real estate.

However, a year later, on October 5, 2020, the private notary Yudin M.A. re-registered the ownership of the said building. The owner of the real estate became LLC "FC Investohills Vesta". The investor's lawyers filed a complaint with the Anti-Raider Collegium of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. And as a result, the complaint was satisfied, and the ownership of the object was returned to its rightful owner.

This happened solely thanks to the professional work of the Interim Investigative Commission of the Verkhovna Rada on Investor Protection and the Anti-Raider Commission. This is an almost unrealistic speed of the state's reaction to injustice towards the investor.

However, on the morning of January 23, a private notary of the Kyiv City Notary District, Bryhida Volodymyr Oleksandrovych, re-registered the ownership of the real estate object to Investohills Vesta. The aforementioned financial company suddenly acquired the right to ownership of the object in which the foreign investor honestly invested money.

That is, the struggle continues?

Despite the tense situation that has arisen due to the re-seizure of property, we believe that together we can defend Ukraine's reputation and send a signal to the international community that it is safe to do business in Ukraine. The Interim Investigative Commission promptly joined in investor protection.

When was the Interim Investigative Commission created and who is in it?

This commission was created by the decision of the Verkhovna Rada in June 2020. Considering that Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as President, voiced the protection of investors and attracting investments as one of his three priorities, all authorities were tasked in this direction. The creation of the Interim Investigative Commission was my idea and that of several of my colleagues. We invited MPs from other factions to join the work. The Interim Investigative Commission includes MPs from the law enforcement committee, from the committee on taxes and finance, the legal committee, the anti-corruption committee and others. This way we can respond to such cases professionally and promptly.

What is the result of the Interim Investigative Commission activities?

In fact, we have been working for about six months, and during this short period we managed to save or return to Ukraine investment projects worth UAH 5 billion. I think this is a pretty good indicator.

On the occasion of Frunze 69 LLC, did you turn to law enforcement agencies?

Yes, in the first place were the lawyers representing the Slovak investor. For our part, as the Parliamentary Investigative Commission on Investor Protection, we held meetings in parliament on this matter and called all interested persons, law enforcement officers and a representative of the Deposit Guarantee Fund in order to understand this situation - how could it happen that having a court decision it is fully confirmed that such a property can be purchased, and in our case it is acquired by a foreign investor, and later some strange people appear at this property and say that this property no longer belongs to the owner. Such cases greatly undermine the image of Ukraine in the eyes of investors, both internal and external. And MPs cannot simply watch this situation. Personally, I was shocked that the issue, which seemed to have been resolved, was updated again this year and an attempt at a raider takeover.

How exactly did you capture the object? Were there "titushky" at the facility?

This question is best addressed to the investor's representatives. We work in the legal and juridical field.

Is any of the courts considering this case now? Or is the issue finally resolved in essence?

From what was submitted to our Parliamentary Investigative Commission on Investor Protection, we see that all the courts have been won and all the courts confirm that the acquisition of this company by the Slovak investor was within the framework of the current legislation and the Slovak investor is a full and legal owner. There is even a decision of the Supreme Court in favor of the Slovak investor.

What amount of investment are we talking about?

This is an amount of EUR 3.10 million.

How open is the Interim Investigative Commission’s activity and do you invite representatives of other state bodies to your meetings?

The commission consists of 13 MPs who are representatives of almost all parliamentary factions and groups, both pro-government and opposition. This commission is exactly remote from anyone and is objective. It is very important for us to maintain balance.

One of the key principles that I use is that we have everything openly happening. We invite everyone to the meeting: the applicant, private or public authorities. In this case, our meetings were attended by both the Slovak investor and the seller, representatives of the DGF.

We even invited people who attempted to seize the object, but they certainly did not come to the meeting.

We studied all documents, court decisions in great detail, and came to such a sad conclusion that this is one of the examples when the rights of an investor in Ukraine are not guaranteed. It is necessary to improve legislation, and it is equally important that it is necessary to comply with the court's decision.

How much does such a case undermine the investment attractiveness of Ukraine?

Any such case is a stain on the reputation of the state and therefore we, as representatives of parliament, try to respond promptly to such situations. Such situations have no place in Ukraine.

Do state bodies listen to the Interim Investigative Commission?

Since we are fairly objective and equidistant, the recommendations and proposals that we form, usually everyone responds to them accordingly. In fact, they come to our meetings. At almost all meetings of the Interim Investigative Commission, if necessary, there are representatives of the Office of Prosecutor General, and representatives of the police, tax service and so on. We protect the interests of Ukraine, everyone agrees that we cannot lose investors today.

Did you write appeals to the Office of the President and invite representatives to consider this particular case?

Sometimes we turn to the Office of the President. In this case, we did not do it, because everything is clear. There is a court decision, even the Supreme Court. This decision of the Supreme Court is the ultimate truth and is not subject to appeal. You just need to comply with the court decision. For us, this situation was strange that it arose.

Regarding the notary Yudin, who carried out the re-registration of property rights to the object, were there appropriate measures for him?

Yes, thanks to the cooperation of the Interim Investigative Commission with the Ministry of Justice, the Anti-Raider Commission of the Ministry of Justice, whose actions I personally value quite high, it was possible to restore justice, return the registration actions and actually return the ownership of the investor. As a consequence of the activities of the Interim Investigative Commission and the Ministry of Justice, it was possible to revoke Yudin's notary license. Hope this will be an example for other notaries.

As Halyna Yanchenko noted on January 28, several people tried to enter the premises this morning and force the tenants to rewrite the lease. An effective police response prevented the seizure of a foreign investor's property.

In an exclusive commentary for Ukrainian News Agency, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Republic to Ukraine Marek Shafin said the following on this case:

“We follow and try to help all Slovak companies that operate in Ukraine. And we will closely monitor this case. We hope that everything will end fairly and in the legal field. I hope that all Ukrainian government agencies will work quickly.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Interim Investigative Commission on Investors' Rights Protection, personally to Halyna Yanchenko, as its head, for taking control of it. The fact of violation of the rights of investors from the Slovak Republic. We are also grateful to the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine - for a timely response and effective work in the direction of protecting our investors."