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A Kyiv court has arrested all bank accounts of the Poltava Mining and Processing Plant, which is a part of the Ferrexpo group, the company said in a statement on Feb. 7. Ukrainian billionaire Kostyantyn Zhevago is the controlling shareholder of the iron ore pellet producer Ferrexpo.
The arrest was made at the request of the Prosecutor General's Office as part of an investigation into the company's alleged evasion of taxes, the statement says.
Ferrexpo said that such a move “puts excessive pressure” on the company and “jeopardizes” the payment of wages for over 7,500 employees.
Earlier on Feb. 2, the chief accountant of the Poltava Mining and Processing Plant was charged with tax evasion and forgery.
According to the investigation, in 2018-2021, the suspect entered false information into the company's documents, which helped it to avoid paying Hr 2 billion ($54.6 million) in rent payments to the state budget for the use of the subsoil of the iron ore deposit.
Zhevago, who holds 51% of Ferrexpo shares, was arrested and detained earlier in France at Ukraine's request but then released on bail of 1 million euros, Ukrainska Pravda reported on Jan. 10, citing its sources in Ukrainian law enforcement.
Shortly after his arrest, Zhevago stepped down from the company's board of directors.
In 2019 Zhevago was charged with embezzling and laundering $113 million at Finance & Credit Bank. In 2021, he was put on the Interpol wanted list.
With a net worth of $1.4 billion, Zhevago is the fifth richest Ukrainian, according to a recent list by Forbes Ukraine. Ferrexpo is his main asset.
Zhevago was a member of Ukraine's parliament from 1998 to 2019.