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Business association CEO Club says it was searched, complains of smear campaign

by Martin Fornusek May 6, 2024 9:23 PM 2 min read
A CEO Club Ukraine venue on April 12, 2024. Illustrative purposes. (CEO Club Ukraine/Facebook)
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CEO Club Ukraine, a club of Ukrainian business leaders, said on May 6 that its premises were searched by the Bureau of Economic Security (BEB) in April and linked it to a supposed smear campaign against the club.

The business association has previously called for reforms of the bureau to, in their own words, prevent it from becoming "an instrument of bribery and political pressure."

"On Friday, April 26... the premises of the CEO Club business association, which our organization rents in the business center at 23 Butyshiv Lane (in Kyiv), were visited by BEB officials with a search permit," said Serhii Haydaichuk, the founder and president of CEO Club.

"The detectives carried out a search in accordance with the procedure and, having encountered no one, found and seized nothing, left the premises. No charges were brought against the club."

Haydaichuk called the searches "absurd" and presented them as part of a smear campaign aimed at tarnishing the club's reputation.

The bureau announced on April 30 that it had conducted searches at several addresses in Kyiv, uncovering an illegal casino and a fraudulent call center without specifying where exactly.

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According to Haydaichuk, anonymous Telegram channels then began spreading claims that the two illicit establishments were operating under the guise of the CEO Club. He called the accusations "false and absurd."

"Why try to tarnish the reputation of the CEO Club? Because our club systematically and rigorously stands for the rule of law, against illegal pressure on business, against corruption, and for reforming the Bureau of Economic Security in accordance with Ukraine's international obligations."

The bureau was established in 2021 as the key agency for combatting economic crimes. Several media outlets and civil society organizations have complained since then that the body fell under the unofficial influence of Oleh Tatarov, a deputy head of the Presidential Office.

On April 11, the parliament passed in the first reading a bill on reforming the bureau to meet the requirements of domestic actors and international partners.

Ukrainian business leaders also complained about undue pressure from the authorities after the detention of influential investment banker Ihor Mazepa in January.

MP Yaroslav Zhelezniak: Developments in Ukraine’s parliament on economic reforms, international obligations — Issue 51
Editor’s note: This is issue 51 of Ukrainian lawmaker Yaroslav Zhelezniak’s weekly “Ukrainian Economy in Brief” newsletter, covering events from April 8- 14, 2024. The digest highlights steps taken in the Ukrainian parliament related to business, economics, and international financial programs. The…
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