Top law enforcers seek dismissal of AMCU chiefs
The searches in the antimonopoly committee are connected with the case of the tobacco firm Thedis.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov says the leadership of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) should be dismissed for the monopoly position of the tobacco company Tedis-Ukraine, associated with the Russian billionaire Ihor Kesayev, in Ukrainian retail market.
During a joint briefing dedicated to the searches in AMCU on 31 March with the chief prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, the minister lashed out at the leaders of the antimonopoly watchdog.
"The AMKU is a structure that should investigate and prevent such monopoly situations. However, the AMKU checkups have for a long time failed to notice any irregularities there," Avakov said.
Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko said that the AMCU would impose fines on Tedis instead of producers of tobacco products to force them to diversify sales.
Avakov insisted that the AMCU head, Yuriy Terentyev, and his deputies, all either on business trips or on vacation, should be dismissed based on the probe. Lutsenko the former leaders of the AMCU, who in 2012 allowed the emergence of the monopoly of Megapolis-Ukraine firm (now Tedis) should also be held responsible.
Tedis-Ukraine controls the whole market for the distribution of tobacco products by four major manufacturers: Philip Morris Ukraine, JTI Ukraine, Imperial Tobacco Ukraine and BAT Ukraine, which occupy 98% of the nation's cigarette market.
In 2014 and 2015, 100% of cigarettes produced in Ukraine were sold to Megapolis (now Tedis), which made it one of 20 largest Ukrainian companies.