November 28, 2017 / 11:24 AM / a year ago

Ukraine says AlixPartners lawsuit won't hinder PrivatBank work

KIEV, Nov 28 (Reuters) - A lawsuit by the former owner of Ukraine’s PrivatBank against AlixPartners will not derail work the global advisory firm is doing for the Ukrainian central bank on the nationalisation of PrivatBank, the central bank told Reuters.

Businessman Ihor Kolomoisky filed a suit against AlixPartners at the London High Court of Justice last week, the latest in a slew of investigations and lawsuits since PrivatBank was nationalised last December.

The central bank hired AlixPartners to help deal with PrivatBank, which was taken into state hands after the central bank found what it said were risky lending practices and a capital shortfall of more than $5.5 billion.

Kolomoisky and the bank’s other main former shareholder, Gennadiy Bogolyubov, have challenged the justification for the nationalisation and accused the central bank, or National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), of misrepresenting PrivatBank’s finances.

AlixPartners declined to comment.

Reuters asked the central bank whether the lawsuit could affect the work of AlixPartners and the risk consultancy Kroll, subcontracted by AlixPartners and which the central bank says is working on a forensic report about PrivatBank.

“The claim does not affect the cooperation between the NBU and AlixPartners, because the court has not imposed any restrictions on the continuation of the work,” the central bank said in an emailed statement on Monday night.

Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine’s richest men, says AlixPartners obtained information confidential to him while they were working for his former legal team in an unrelated case, before going on to work for the central bank last year.

The work, as Kolomoisky’s side sees it, may include helping attempts by the central bank and PrivatBank to make “recovery claims” against third parties that could include himself.

Kolomoisky wants an injunction to prevent AlixPartners working with the central bank or PrivatBank, and an order requiring AlixPartners to terminate contracts with third parties in relation to the same work, including contracts with Kroll.

Bogolyubov gave notice this month that he might seek compensation for what he called an “unlawful expropriation”, and accused the authorities of a smear campaign.

The former owners of PrivatBank have filed a total of nine legal claims in connection with PrivatBank, the central bank said in its emailed statement. (Editing by Edmund Blair)

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