29 April 2015

Group DF Press Statement Regarding Criminal Investigation Launch Against OSTCHEM Holding and Naftogaz of Ukraine NJSC

We consider the recent announcement by Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Prime Minister of Ukraine, that a criminal investigation has been launched against OSTCHEM Holding and Naftogaz of Ukraine NJSC to be part of a deliberate and prolonged campaign of political persecution against Group DF and its owner.


Today’s strained unsubstantiated statement concerning the alleged involvement of the Group’s businesses in embezzling public funds, as well as threats of asset seizure against our companies – Rivne Azot, Cherkasy Azot, Concern Stirol and Severodonetsk Azot Association – is another attempt of commercial blackmail. This is yet more evidence that our business is continually persecuted by members of People’s Front political party.


A week ago, people’s deputies of People’s Front made unfounded claims about purchasing a 29% stake in Inter TV channel from Channel One Russia (Russian Federation). The attempt to link the acquisition of Inter’s shares with ‘financing terrorism’ was absurd and preposterous. According to the declarants’ logic, payments for gas, energy and coal purchased from the Russian Federation, servicing and retirement of securities to the Russian Federation meet the definition of ‘financing of terrorism’. Group DF has already stated that the repurchase of Inter’s shares, previously owned by Channel One Russia, was imposed as a result of political pressure on the group by individual representatives of People’s Front. In terms of business logic, this was not a priority deal for the Group in current economic situation, this was a forced step to protect Group DF’s media asset from political repression. Today Inter is a 100% Ukrainian TV channel with no Russian capital, it is completely owned by Ukrainian holders.


In early April, Mr Avakov, Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, accused OSTCHEM executive officers of ‘embezzling public funds’, that we have never had any relation to.


Earlier, Mr Turchynov, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, had unlawfully ordered the revocation of Inter’s license (Inter is the leading Group DF’s TV channel). Previously, Mr Yatsenyuk, Prime Minister of Ukraine, had launched a move prohibiting Group DF to manage gas, belonging to it, by placing an unlawful ban on removing gas from the underground gas storages.


It is obvious that politicians from People’s Front find it hard to tolerate criticism from the Group’s media, particularly, regarding corruption in the current Cabinet of Ministers. That is why Group DF’s business is coming under political pressure of People’s Front members holding government posts.


We emphasise that all Group DF’s businesses operate exceptionally in legal framework. Group’s media will continue telling truth, in particular, about cases of corruption in the government. Despite pressure, Group DF proceeds fulfilling its obligations to the state, including tax repayment and other mandatory fees. We provide tens of thousands of families with work and stable salary.          


Group DF calls on President Petro Poroshenko to take measures for seizing repressions of the Group on the part of People’s Front officials.


The Group calls on media not to disseminate inaccurate information and turn to Group DF for comments.