Kyiv, February 18, 2016. Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ukraine (CCI), the biggest organization today representing business and supporting export development and attracting investment, located in all the regions of our country, faced a unique phenomenon we quality as pressure at its activity exerted by a business organization, i.e., a raider attack organized by a group of people,” said Hennadiy Chyzhykov, president of Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. According to him, this group of people aims at undermining CCI activity, seize it and use for it for their lucrative commercial purposes. Chyzhykov informed of pressure exerted by inspection authorities and law enforcement agencies. “Three representatives of three different law enforcement agencies visited the Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the same day and brought 27 convocation letters ordering CCI employees to appear for interrogation, which is unheard of,” said the president.
Denys Tsypin, lawyer of the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said all the accusations against CCI were preposterous. He said official embezzlement was on the list of accusations. The lawyer responded that CCI does not dispose of state funds. “We could not embezzle what we did not have […]. Many people do not differentiate between a non-governmental organization, business association and state agencies,” he said. Another accusation the lawyer mentioned was tax evasion to the sum over 40 million hryvnias. Tsypin confirmed there are two acts of tax inspectorate finding tax in arrears to much smaller sum. “Nevertheless, one year and six month ago administrative courts of Ukraine passed a judgment for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, declaring the accusations of tax evasion groundless and illegitimate,” informed Tsypin. According to him, Chamber of Commerce and Industry is accused of yielding some if its assets in Crimea to aggressor. “It is absurd, for Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Crimea are independent legal entities. Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ukraine has not founded them and does not control them in any way,” said the lawyer. According to him, investigators interrogate CCI employees on weekly basis, technical employees in particular, but the investigation does not progress and does not aim at finding the truth. Tsypin qualifies it as a “procedural terror”. “I am not a protégé of either Yanukovych or Pshonka. I am a proxy of thousands of businessmen represented by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ukraine,” said Chyzhykov, elaborating that he faces such accusations.
Oleh Lykhovyd, chairman of the Committee of Entrepreneurs of Financial Service Market at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ukraine said that foreign partners treat this situation as a slap in the face of Ukrainian business, especially at present, when Ukraine cannot boast an attractive investment climate. According to Rasim Bekmezci, assistant director of Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), world community sees this process and is disturbed. “All the accusations rely on assumptions and speculations, and I believe they are unacceptable in a law-bound state like Ukraine,” said Bekmezci. “If such a big and powerful institution is unable to defend its interests and rights within legal framework, a simple investor who would be interested to come and work in Ukraine, stands no chance”.