Tamer oligarchs

When Valeria Gontareva said on camera that she, as head of the National Bank of Ukraine headed by more than two years ago, that does not use any flattering language. She speaks then about “medieval monsters”.

President Petro Poroshenko after the Maidan revolution of 2014 has mandated the restructuring of the Central Bank. This unit has done a lot to intimidate the reformers. Gontareva wanted to fire the head of the personnel Department, but he just remained seated with the explanation that her predecessor was unable to get rid of him, and he had the “17 and 20 of the guard dogs,” scoffed the officer.

Her Deputy, responsible for strategic new direction, was forced for two weeks to work in the morning. Managers claimed that just failed to find him a room.

With 13 thousand employees and five thousand

However, people Gontareva still broke the resistance of the old system, at least in the framework of the Bank. They turned a bloated colossus — 13 thousands of employees in the cell of a modern Central Bank on the Western model. The number of employees is five thousand. In 2020 should remain two thousand employees.

It brought Gontareva recognition of experts and politicians in the West. “She cleaned the cowshed,” says Tomas Fiala (Tomas Fiala), residing in Kiev, the investment banker from the Czech Republic. “The national Bank of Ukraine is the leader in reforms in Ukraine,” says Robert Kirchner (Robert Kirchner) from the group of German advisers in Ukraine, who for several years worked closely with the National Bank of Ukraine.

In the Ukrainian media is completely different “Gontareva destroyed the credibility of Ukraine in the banking system,” — said, for example. Or: “It kills any credibility of the national currency”. Many citizens believe the national Bank of Ukraine, guilty in the fall of the national currency. Before the revolution one dollar was worth eight hryvnia, today it is 26 USD. Only 2.8% of the citizens trust the head of the National Bank of Ukraine.

The attack on her sharp, sometimes cruel: the head of the nationalist Radical party, which is still represented as a faction in the Parliament, requires the “blood of the leadership of the National Bank of Ukraine”, because it destroyed the banking system of the country.

Monday Gontareva announced his retirement. Officially, she said: “My mission is accomplished.” In a conversation with SPIEGEL ONLINE a few days ago she, however, made it clear that did not expect such a strong pressure. “Perhaps I was somewhat naive.”

Finally the focus was also her past. Prior to her appointment to the firm Gontareva ICU in Kiev dealt with the oligarchs. One of the closest partners were then current head of the country Poroshenko.

Is this the success story of the iron reformatory still yet another example of corruption and factionalism? Not whether Ukraine goes in a circle?

Experts have Gontareva good reputation, because the national Bank of Ukraine for the first time is independent from the interests of politicians and oligarchs. He conducts modern monetary policy as the European Central Bank or us Federal Reserve. In contrast, predecessors Gontareva wanted above all to leave a stable exchange rate of the hryvnia.

Although promised to the population stability, however, the country was moving towards bankruptcy. From April to November 2013 when the then President Viktor Yanukovych burned so $ 15 billion, equivalent to 8% of the entire performance of the Ukrainian economy.

Banks-“zombie”, “washing machine” and “vacuum cleaner”

When the revolution of the Maidan in the East of Ukraine broke out war, for many in the Ukrainian leadership, this was a welcome excuse to postpone reform until a better time. “We have to reform just one hand. The other hand we have to keep on the course of our hostile neighbor,” complained to President Poroshenko in 2015. He was referring to Russia.

The Central Bank, Poroshenko has proved that it was possible another way. Gontareva brought the young financial experts who made up this career in a large Western banks. They brought with them something that politics in Ukraine is so often lacking in competence, strategy and the necessary determination. Rapidly they plowed the broken banking sector. Within two years, the national Bank of Ukraine has closed 87 banks, that is, every second Ukrainian monetary Institute.

The banking sector has healed, it partly undermined by organized crime. This is evidenced by the terminology with which the Central Bank has classified banks closed: there we are talking about banks”zombie”, “washing machine” and “vacuum cleaners”.

“Zombies” are active financial institutions only by the sign. In most cases, behind them people have long since fled with the money of depositors.

“Washing machine” existed in order to disguise the origin of money from criminal sources.

The biggest trouble takes vacuum cleaners, banks Ukrainian oligarchs. They collect the money of depositors, however, the loans are almost exclusively firms the same oligarchs. According to statistics of the National Bank of Ukraine, such insider loans account for more than one third of all granted Ukraine loans.

Although, for example, in “PrivatBank”, which in December 2016 was the state, bills have more than ten million Ukrainians. But every other Bank credit went to firms that belong to the owner of the Bank. His name is Igor Kolomoisky, one of the richest people in the country.

How to drain the swamp

Many of the oligarchs never paid those loans to their own banks. They hoped that the policy will still save these banks from fear of the wrath of small investors. The share of problematic credits in the twenty largest banks stands at 53%.

In the case also passed in state property by the Bank “Nadra”, the proportion was even 88%. At the time of its bankruptcy, the Bank “Nadra” owed to the National Bank of Ukraine $ 500 million. The former owner Dmitry Firtash is currently in Vienna, where fighting against the declared statement of his extradition to the United States.

The Ministry of internal Affairs accuses the oligarchs that they spent on business stabilization loan from the Central Bank in the amount of almost $ 200 million.

Firtash simply “recorded these loans as part of its state,” — said Gontareva. He did have a good relationship with the former head of the Central Bank.

It is obvious that direct access to the policy is justified: the state insurance Fund private contributions began to study the structure of the loans 87 closed banks. Their volume is in the conversion of almost $ 20 billion. Half the amount is 600 people.

“Most of them sit in Parliament,” says Julia Borisenko. 15 years she worked in the city of London, but the last 14 months spent in Kiev, as an employee of the Deposit insurance. According to her, the Ukrainian banking sector has never fulfilled its function. The loans were settled not in firms with good ideas or effective management, and the oligarchs, with the best political connections. “Gontareva laid the Foundation of that after twenty years it finally has changed,” says Eremenko.

However, in mid-March, she also resigned, after she tried to return to the court for the state funds of foreign branches of 87 banks closed. In most cases, Eremenko lost. Ukraine has also long overdue and the reform of justice.

Whether you take the billionaires revenge?

Oligarchs created a front against the Central Bank and its head even in the West. One of the super-rich — businessman Sergey Taruta is stopped at the end of January at the Steigenberger near the office of the Chancellor. In Berlin he wanted to meet with deputies of the Bundestag. Taruta went in the United States. In his Luggage was a brochure with a captivating title “Gontareva — a danger to the economic security of Ukraine”. In Washington, he handed out this pamphlet to the participants of one meeting of the International monetary Fund. IMF from 17.5 billion dollars is a major sponsor of the Ukraine.

The resignation of Gontareva is the first success of the oligarchs. Her successor has not yet been appointed. Experts fear that the President may appoint an apparatchik of the old kind — and thus to return in two years for the next presidential election to populist policies of the Central Bank.

In the political circles of Kiev, there are discussions about the concept of targeted financing targeted financing. The national Bank of Ukraine will have in the future of the strategically important of the firm and the sector to directly Fund to promote the economy.

This practice is controversial. It is susceptible to all sorts of influence, politicians and industrial interests, and the Ukraine both remain closely intertwined. German Advisory group cautions against a “step right back”: that the money will, as before, to transfer only to insiders, and that competition and economic development will fail.

Valeria Gontareva added to your mobile phone photo. She shows why she no longer wants to do the job. The photograph shows the coffin and a doll similar to Gontareva. Ukrainian nationalists left it on the steps in front of the building of the Central Bank in Kiev. These come in close to one Ukrainian oligarch.

“These people — said Gontareva is ready for the sake of their petty business interests to destroy the foundations of a stable Ukraine”.