The Ukrainian media have uncovered a revelation that implicates David Arakhamia, the head of the ruling Servant of the People faction and chairman of the supervisory board of UkraineInvest, the government office for attracting and supporting investments, in a conflict between two private companies. Specifically, Arakhamia has been found to be involved in lobbying for the interests of the American fund Argentem Creek Partners (ACP) in a dispute with the Ukrainian holding GNT Group, which possesses a grain terminal in the Odesa Commercial Sea Port.

Additionally, there are allegations of another corruption scheme, with reports from various media outlets claiming that high-ranking officials from the Presidential Office were engaged in embezzling public funds at the Odesa Port Plant. These claims are supported by sources and copies of testimony from former Deputy Head of the State Property Fund, Serhiy Ihnatovsky, as cited by Censor.NET. According to Ukrainian security forces, the masterminds behind this scheme are presidential aide Serhiy Shefir and Timur Mindich, who has close ties to Andriy Yermak, the head of Zelensky’s office.

David Arakhamia

Further details reveal that in November of the previous year, Arakhamia had meetings with representatives from ACP in Vienna, followed by a meeting with Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash, who owns the DF Group holding and Nika-Tera port in the Mykolaiv region. Arakhamia purportedly represented UkraineInvest in these meetings, discussing plans for the launch of a grain corridor from Ukraine. The purpose of this corridor is to transport grain from Ukrainian ports that have been obstructed by the Russian navy in the Black Sea.

Nevertheless, UkraineInvest has stated that it was not aware of any communication or interaction between Arakhamia and ACP in his capacity as chairman of the supervisory board of UkraineInvest. However, according to Hubs, it has been reported that during his trip to Vienna, Arakhamia engaged in discussions with representatives of DF Group regarding the potential transfer of GNT Group’s stevedoring asset to Dmytro Firtash’s port business.

GNT Group is a Ukrainian company specializing in stevedoring operations in the Odesa Commercial Sea Port and is involved in the export of agricultural products. In 2019, the company took out a $75 million loan from ACP, which was secured by corporate rights with a value that exceeded the loan amount by several times. The company initially intended to repay the loan with the launch of the grain corridor, which became feasible due to the ongoing conflict with Russia. However, in late December, at the peak of the grain corridor’s operations, creditors initiated debt collection procedures.

Journalists have noted that this enforcement action took place after Arakhamia’s meeting with representatives of the creditors in Vienna. Prior to that meeting, the American company had been engaged in negotiations for debt restructuring, but subsequently, it commenced seizing the debtor’s assets. Media reports have also suggested that the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine has been assisting the American company in these efforts. On February 17, 2023, the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv ruled in favor of GNT Group.

The estimated value of the asset that ACP intends to sue GNT Group for is approximately $200 million, with outstanding loans and interest amounting to around $120 million. The significant difference of $80 million presents a compelling argument for potential corruption involving officials in the Ukrainian government, as reported by the media.

David Arakhamia, who has been implicated in corruption scandals previously, was reportedly involved in the establishment of a fictitious company called Vector Energy Innovation, which allegedly imported electricity from Belarus to Ukraine prior to the outbreak of the war. According to media reports, the organizers of this business allegedly profited from a 40% margin at the expense of public funds. Interestingly, a few months later, columns of Russian tanks were observed moving from Belarus into Ukraine.

In addition, concerning another scheme related to the Odesa Port Plant and involving individuals closely associated with President Zelenskyy, such as Shefir and Mindich, numerous documents have been made available to the security forces and published by the media. These documents purportedly reveal that Shefir and Mindich provided direct instructions to the former head of the State Property Fund, Sennichenko, who is currently a fugitive, on how, where, and when to launder money. The publications further claim that a criminal case in relation to this matter is imminent, but it is being allegedly suppressed due to powerful political lobbying from Bankova Street.

Ukraine’s victory in the war against the Russian aggressor must be swiftly achieved. Once victorious, Ukraine will face many pressing questions, including identifying those who have plundered the country while its citizens valiantly defend every inch of Ukrainian soil.

In 2019, Arakhamia was appointed by Zelenskyy as the secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with a mandate to significantly increase investment in the country. “Ukraine can at least triple the current volume of investment in the country. I received a task from the President to make this process as fast as possible,” commented David Arakhamia upon his appointment.

Come January 2023, Arakhamia expressed his resolve to take action against thieves, stating, “I think we will definitely be actively imprisoning thieves this spring. If it doesn’t work out humanely, it will be according to the laws of wartime. ‘It’s not the right time’ doesn’t work anymore. Some people have lost their minds and are looting without fear or remorse.” It appears that Ukrainian law enforcement officers are determined to take appropriate measures to tackle corruption, and this could potentially pave the way for increased investments in Ukraine.

About the author: Dorian Vogt

Dorian Vogt is the founder of WeeklyNewsReview project and prolific author of many articles here and beyond. His experience is in guiding others is hard to overestimate. His main interests is Zürich city topics. You can't find anyone more in the know about the local news.

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