December 20, 2017 / 9:49 PM / a year ago

Ukraine’s PrivatBank says UK court has frozen ex-shareholders’ assets

KIEV, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Ukraine’s largest lender PrivatBank, which was nationalised in late 2016, said on Wednesday a London court where it launched legal action had frozen the worldwide assets of former owners Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Bogolyubov.

The case adds to a slew of lawsuits initiated since PrivatBank was nationalised last December as a result of risky lending practices that left the lender with a capital shortfall of over $5.5 billion, according to the central bank.

“On 19 December 2017, the English High Court granted a worldwide freezing order against Messrs Kolomoisky and Bogolyubov, as well as against six companies they are believed to own or control,” the bank said in a statement.

Kolomoisky and Bogolyubov were not immediately available for comment.

PrivatBank said the court order was granted on the basis of detailed evidence put to the court that Kolomoisky and Bogolyubov, Ukraine’s second- and third-richest man respectively, had extracted almost $2 billion from PrivatBank through dishonest transactions.

“PrivatBank is confident that the English court will determine its claims fairly and objectively and that it will succeed in recovering funds that have been misappropriated from it,” it said.

Kolomoisky and Bogolyubov have challenged the justification for the nationalisation and accused the central bank of misrepresenting the state of PrivatBank’s finances.

Kolomoisky has launched a number of lawsuits to challenge the nationalisation, including a move to prevent the Ukrainian authorities cooperating with external companies to investigate the reasons for PrivatBank’s insolvency. (Reporting by Natalia Zinets; writing by Alessandra Prentice; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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