Ukraine acting to place Ferrexpo CEO under worldwide search
Kostyantyn Zhevago, the CEO and majority owner of Ukraine’s largest iron ore pellet exporter Ferrexpo (FXPO LN), was put on a wanted list in Ukraine by the State Bureau of Investigations (DBR), according to DBR Head Roman Truba, as cited by Interfax-Ukraine on Oct. 9. The DBR is taking measures to put Zhevago on an international wanted list, Truba said.
The search is related to Zhevago’s possible involvement in the embezzlement of USD 113 mln from the Finance & Credit (F&C) bank in 2015, Truba said, reiterating DBR’s earlier report of Sept. 27 that Zhevago was served, in absentia with a notice of suspicion related to the embezzlement investigation. Ferrexpo reported on Sept. 30 Zhevago’s rebuttal of having been properly served with the suspicion notice in accordance with Ukrainian law. Zhevago was the controlling owner of F&C Bank until it was declared insolvent in September 2015.
Dmytro Khoroshun: We continue to expect Ferrexpo’s board to rise to the occasion and to guide all of the company’s shareholders through this crisis. In particular, reinforcing the company’s management with people independent from Zhevago might lower the execution risks without undermining the majority owner’s authority as the CEO.
The outcome of the investigation that reportedly involves Zhevago as a suspect is difficult to predict. Looking for less dramatic scenarios, we note that in mid-December, the process of F&C bank’s liquidation either will end or will be extended for a maximum of one year. The end of the liquidation process, once it has taken place, might clarify Zhevago’s risks and possibly lower his exposure related to his bank’s failure.
This crystallization of Zhevago’s risks might, in turn, make him more inclined to settle amicably the amounts related to various investigations and court proceedings, including the embezzlement of USD 113 mln and UAH 1.5 bln (about USD 60 mln) on a loan from the National Bank he personally guaranteed.