Investors criticise Ukrainian president over appointment of oligarch-linked lawyer

Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s newly inaugurated president, has come under heavy criticism from investors for appointing Andriy Bogdan, the former personal lawyer of Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, as the head the presidential administration.

Aside from working for Mr Kolomoisky – who has been accused of siphoning 5.5 billion US dollars from the now state-owned Privatbank – Mr Bogdan also served as deputy minister under former Ukrainian PM Mikola Azarov and president Viktor Yanukovich, ousted by the 2014 Maidan revolution.

Speaking at a conference, European Business Association president and CEO of Dragon Capital Tomas Fiala highlighted that investors had reacted negatively, judging by their reaction to Eurobonds and the Ukrainian hryvnia.

“The more people appointed from Kolomoisky’s circle, the more it will increase the cost of our borrowing, the more difficult it will be for corporations and the government to raise money both in Ukraine and abroad. This money will be very expensive, there may even be the outflow investments,” Mr Fiala said, adding that investors would consider the appointment of former economy minister Aivaras Abromavičius and former finance minister Oleksandr Danyliuk, who both work as Mr Zelensky’s advisers, a positive sign.

Mr Danyliuk has since been tapped to lead Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council.

Ukrainian MPs have pointed out that Mr Bogdan’s appointment was illegal, since a 2014 law prohibits former members of the Yanukovich regime from holding public office for 10 years. Reacting to this claim, Mr Bogdan said that president’s chief of staff was not part of the civil service.