December 3, 2019 / 2:16 PM / 9 days ago

Ukraine puts former Ferrexpo chief executive on international wanted list

KIEV, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Ukraine’s state prosecutor office said on Tuesday that Kostyantin Zhevago, the former chief executive of London-listed iron pellet producer Ferrexpo , had been put on an international wanted list.

Prosecutors said in a statement they wanted to detain a former lawmaker and former beneficiary owner of Finance & Credit Bank.

Tuesday’s statement said the former beneficiary owner of Finance & Credit Bank was wanted on suspicion of embezzlement and money-laundering in connection with the disappearance of 2.5 billion hryvnia ($104 million) from the now bankrupt lender.

While not mentioned by name, Zhevago owned the bank and was a member of the Ukrainian parliament from 1998-2019. The prosecutor’s office said privacy laws meant it could not name the individual involved.

Reuters was unable to reach Zhevago or his legal representatives for immediate comment and Switzerland-based Ferrexpo declined comment.

“Due to his systematic failure to appear before the pre-trial investigation body, he was put on the international wanted list and the investigating judge gave permission to detain him,” prosecutors said in a statement.

The head of Ukraine’s state investigation bureau had also stated publicly in October that its investigation into the bank related to Zhevago on the same grounds as stated in Tuesday’s statement by the prosecutor’s office.

In October, Ferrexpo said Zhevago had not been served with any legal notices and he denied any wrongdoing.

The Ukrainian mogul owns a stake of more than 50% in Ferrexpo and was appointed CEO in 2008.

Chairman Steve Lucas said in a statement in October that Zhevago was stepping down from Ferrexpo temporarily “to focus on on-going matters in Ukraine” without elaborating. A person familiar with the matter told Reuters the business in question was Finance & Credit Bank (F&C), which Zhevago owned until it went bankrupt in 2015.

$1 = 24.0800 hryvnias Reporting by Natalia Zinets; writing by Matthias Williams

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