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Son of Ukraine's ex-president says Swiss bank freeze will hit coal exports

KIEV (Reuters) - Switzerland’s freezing of bank accounts linked to the family of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich could reduce coal exports from Ukraine, a company owned by his son warned on Friday.

In a statement to Reuters, a Ukrainian conglomerate, the Mako Group, based in Yanukovich’s political stronghold Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, confirmed it was 100 percent owned by Oleksander Yanukovich, a son of the former president. His and Oleksander’s foreign assets were frozen by Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein earlier in the day.

Asked by Reuters to respond to the Swiss measures, the company said it had yet to be informed, but would seek the advice of lawyers if the reports proved true.

Mako said that its Swiss arm - the Mako Trading Company (Switzerland) - “carries out legal trading activity (coal exports) from Ukraine to more than 20 countries”.

Accounts of the firm were transparent and fully audited, and all appropriate taxes were paid in Switzerland, it said.

The statement said: “We also want to emphasize that in the event of the accounts of Mako trading being effectively blocked, this will lead to a suspension of the company’s exports of coal from Ukraine.” This would only cost the country foreign currency, it said.

Reporting By Stephen Grey; Editing by Alistair Lyon