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Former Naftogaz CEO Kobolev suspected of embezzling over UAH 229 million

This concerns the bonus he received for winning a dispute against Gazprom.

Former Naftogaz CEO Kobolev suspected of embezzling over UAH 229 million
Andriy Kobolev

The former chairman of the Naftogaz of Ukraine board was served with a notice of suspicion of embezzlement of over UAH 229 million in 2018. During that period, Andriy Kobolev was the head of the company.

According to the investigation, in May 2018, the head of the company allegedly issued an order to bonus the company's employees in violation of the law, on the basis of which he was paid almost UAH 261 million (equivalent to USD 10 million) for extraordinary achievements. This was for the favourable decision in the case of a natural gas purchase and sale contract in 2009-2019, the NABU (National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine) press service said.

"This amount was significantly higher than the statutory amount of such payments (UAH 37.48 million). In addition, the ex-executive was paid a bonus of UAH 12.49 million in 2017 for the same achievements. In total, during 2018, the suspect, according to the investigation, was illegally paid more than UAH 229.25 million at the company exspense (the difference between the actual bonus paid and the maximum allowable amount)," the press service added.

In 2018, Andriy Kobolyev received a $7.9 million bonus (and transferred it to his mother in the US), and the company's commercial director Yuriy Vitrenko received a $6 million bonus for winning a dispute with Gazprom over a transit contract in the Stockholm Arbitration Court.

The overall amount of bonuses for Naftogaz's management of 41 people was approved at 1% of the arbitration award (USD 4.6 billion) totalling USD 46.3 million. 

The State Audit Service claimed that Kobolyev was paid UAH 228 million in bonuses in violation of a government decree. However, Naftogaz appealed to the court to declare this claim unlawful and cancel it.

Kobolev was suddenly dismissed from his post as head of Naftogaz in 2021. Yuriy Vitrenko was appointed instead. Vitrenko was fired last year, and Oleksiy Chernyshov, who had been the Minister of Regional Development, took over the company.

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