Ukraine’s leader stands firm on bank’s nationalization


FILE – In this April 21, 2019, file photo, then-presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy greets his supporters at his headquarters after the second round of presidential elections in Kvyv, Ukraine. More than two months before the phone call that launched the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Ukraine’s newly elected leader was already worried about pressure from the U.S. president to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits, File)

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s president has vowed to keep a bank formerly owned by a powerful tycoon in government hands.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy told an investment conference Tuesday that he would not approve any motion to scrap the 2016 nationalization of PrivatBank, which was owned by billionaire Ihor Kolomoyskyi. The Ukrainian president didn’t mention PrivatBank by name but said rumors that he’s going to “give back a bank” to its owner are “not true.”

Zelenskiy, a former comedian, had business dealings with Kolomoyskyi’s media holding during his acting career before he was elected in April. Kolomoyskyi’s return to Ukraine from a self-imposed exile stoked speculation that the decision to nationalize his bank could be reversed.

Zelenskiy’s stance on PrivatBank has been viewed as a litmus test for his administration’s commitment to reforms.

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