Ukraine approves law on banks in a bid for IMF aid


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a face mask to protect against coronavirus, discusses the COVID-19 situation in the country with officials in his office in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday April 22, 2020. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine has passed a law preventing former owners of nationalized or liquidated banks from regaining ownership or receiving state compensation, a move that allows the country to get $5.5 billion in loans from the International Monetary Fund.

The bill, which some lawmakers tried to sandbag with over 16,000 amendments, was approved on Wednesday by 270 votes out of 450.

Some said that the bill targets billionaire tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky, among others, whose Privatbank was nationalized in 2016 and who sought to get it back using his connections to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

In recent months, Zelenskiy has been trying to distance himself from Kolomoisky, who wasn’t hiding his ambitions to influence both domestic and foreign policies, observers say.

The bill now needs to be signed into law by Zelenskiy. Kolomoisky said he will contest the law in the European Court of Human Rights.

In December, the IMF agreed to give Ukraine $5.5 billion worth of loans over three years if the country lifted the ban on the sale of farmland and adopted the banking law. The law lifting the ban on selling farmland was approved by the parliament and signed by Zelenskiy earlier this year.

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