Lutsenko moves towards dismissing Danylyuk, letter reveals
Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has taken measures to begin the process of dismissing Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk, as reported on Feb. 10 by MP Serhiy Leshchenko on his blog on pravda.com.ua. Citing an investigation by prosecutors of alleged tax evasion by Danylyuk, Lutsenko urged Groysman to “prevent and monitor the conflict of interests of this individual,” according to a copy of a letter dated Dec. 28, 2017, obtained by Leshchenko, that Lutsenko sent to Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman. Such a request means that resolving the conflict can only occur with Danylyuk’s dismissal.
Lutsenko wrote the letter one week after Danylyuk called for Lutsenko to resign at a Dec. 21 press briefing, accusing him of interfering with the ministry’s attempts to investigate the multi-billion-dollar fraud scheme alleged against the owners of and managers of nationalized Privatbank. Instead of pursuing investigations of Privatbank officials, Lutsenko has been initiating probes of National Bank and Finance Ministry officials, including experts who are currently investigating Privatbank’s fraud, Danylyuk said.
Zenon Zawada: Danylyuk has had a feud with President Poroshenko and Lutsenko ever since becoming finance minister in April 2016, which has recently intensified. Danylyuk’s advantage in this conflict is that he has strong relations with IMF officials, having earned their trust. Meanwhile, Poroshenko has drawn harsh criticism from Western finance officials. Late last year, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions even declined to meet with Lutsenko in Washington after an attempt to arrange a meeting by the Ukrainian Embassy.
So dismissing Danylyuk would not only damage Ukraine’s already weak standing with the IMF, but also jeopardize receiving the next loan tranche this year, which Ukraine so desperately needs. So not only would Poroshenko and Lutsenko draw more Western criticism and ruin relations further with Danylyuk’s dismissal, but they would also risk crippling themselves politically by losing critical funds necessary for economic stability ahead of next year’s elections.