Ukraine government dismisses suspended tax chief Nasirov

Ukraine government dismisses suspended tax chief Nasirov
Ukraine government dismisses suspended tax chief Nasirov
By bne IntelliNews February 1, 2018

The Ukrainian government will sack the former head of Ukraine’s State Fiscal Service (SFS) Roman Nasirov, who was suspended 11 months ago following corruption charge indictment by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), following a cabinet's decision made at a meeting on January 31, according to the nation's Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman.

The move followed January's statement made by Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk to dismiss Nasirov, who has been accused of taking tens of millions of dollar in bribes while in office. His arrest last summer was seen as NABU landing its first “big fish” in its fight against corruption. Nasirov is close to president President Petro Poroshenko and was considered one of the untouchable elite.

Danylyuk demands to dismiss Nasirov is more evidence of Danyliuk’s growing political opposition to the president ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections in the country, and the minister’s intention to launch an independent political career. In recent months Danylyuk has become an increasingly vocal critic of the government’s failure to deal with corruption as well as popularist policies. At the same time, some experts believe that Danylyuk in such a way paves political ground to fight growing accusations of alleged tax evasion in Ukraine.

As he is saying the right things, Danylyuk is also increasingly popular with foreign investors as a man that they can do business with. This has been especially important following Ukraine’s return to the international capital markets last September with a $3bn Eurobond issue.

In November, the Specialised Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine (SAPO) sent to court an indictment against Nasirov, NABU’s media office said.

Ukrainian anti-corruption authorities allege that Nasirov provided restructuring of rent payments for gas production companies associated with fugitive Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksandr Onyshchenko. Nasirov is accused of giving an order that cost the state budget UAH2bn (€70mn). In March, Nasirov was released from custody in Kyiv after his wife posted the UAH100mn (€3.5mn) bail. 

Ukraine’s parliament has sanctioned the criminal prosecution, detention and arrest of Onyshchenko, a member of the Volia Narodu (People’s Will) parliamentary group, in connection with alleged fraud schemes with gas sold together with the Ukrgazvydobuvannia gas company.

Onyshchenko, who denies any wrongdoing, fled Ukraine and announced his intention to seek political asylum in the UK. On December 1, 2016, Ukraine’s SBU security service said it had put Onyshchenko on the national wanted list for treason.

According to NABU’s statement, the pre-trial investigation of the Nasirov case was completed in July, after which Nasirov and his defence lawyers have been examining the investigation materials for more than three months.