Kharkiv human rights group says it sees signs of political prosecution in the case of the former head of the National Bank of Ukraine(NBU)

Kharkiv human rights group says it sees signs of political prosecution in the case of the former head of the National Bank of Ukraine(NBU) Kyrylo Shevchenko headed the NBU for more than two years - from July 2020 to October 2022
Photo: Kyrylo Shevchenko / Facebook
Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group conducted an analysis of possible signs of political prosecution in the criminal proceedings against the former head of the NBU Kyrylo Shevchenko at the request of his defense. The human rights activists came to the conclusion that there are such signs in the proceedings. KHRPG announced this on its website on February 10.

The authors of the report pointed out that on the 10th of February, the Appeals Chamber of the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court confirmed the decision of the first instance court to arrest Shevchenko in absentia.

Human rights activists have analyzed the biography of the banker since 1995 and noted that he worked in banks and in public positions, before his nomination as head of the NBU, he was elected as chairman of the board of Ukrgasbank, after which the bank entered the list of leaders of the financial market of Ukraine.

"It should be kept in mind that on 20.02.2019 in the Unified state register of pre-trial investigations there was a criminal proceeding for criminal offenses under part 5 of article 191 and part 1 of article 366 of the Criminal code of Ukraine, and the National anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine started a pre-trial investigation on unidentified employees of Ukrgasbank on waste of funds. However, this did not prevent the President of Ukraine from proposing Shevchenko for appointment and the Parliament of Ukraine from voting for the appointment", – human rights activists stressed.

They noted that as head of the NBU, Shevchenko "is remembered by Ukrainians as a consistent supporter of a balanced monetary policy, who increased foreign exchange reserves, successfully fought for the banks' profitability and prosperity, preserved the banking system and monetary policy during departmental times and brought order to non-bank financial services."

"But the biggest test for Kyrylo Shevchenko was the Russian Federation's full-scale aggression against Ukraine, when the National Bank managed to hold the banking and monetary systems together thanks to pre-conceived tactics. Particularly journalists agreed that for seven months of the war NBU managed to prevent large-scale devaluation of hryvnia, kept international reserves at the level of over $25 billion and kept inflation at a lower level than in some countries of the Eastern European region. However, there were rumors in the media before and after February 24th that Shevchenko may be dismissed soon, with journalists agreeing that the main complaint against him is the lack of a "solid bridge" between the NBU and the President's Office", – the authors write quoting media reports.

As another reason for the dismissal, debated in the society, they "named the refusal of the National Bank to permanently issue hryvnia, which was demanded to patch up holes in the state budget".

"At the same time, the criminal proceedings that began long before Kyrylo Shevchenko was appointed as head of the NBU and about which both the president and parliament knew when he proposed the appointment of Kyrylo Shevchenko to the position, were continued to be investigated by the NABU. Here is how this fact was assessed by journalists of one of the most serious newspapers of Ukraine Dzerkalo Tyzhnya: "Two years and three months later the president used the same case to finally pressurize and offer Shevchenko to step down before he was handed a suspicion". On October 4th, 2022 Kyrylo Shevchenko resigned as head of the National Bank of Ukraine for health reasons", – the human rights activists reminded.

Then a notice of suspicion was drafted and sent to Shevchenko, the Rada supported his resignation, and the position of NBU head was taken by Andriy Pyshnyy, who, as noted in KPH, is described as close to the head of the President's Office.

"One of the first decisions taken by the NBU under the leadership of Andriy Pyshny was to allow banks to form up to 50% of mandatory reserves in government bonds rather than in cash. These reserves are formed for the funds attracted to the accounts (households and businesses). As a consequence, the interest on business investments, as well as on foreign currency investments may sag more. Experts do not even rule out the possibility of negative yield on dollar and euro deposits. That is, people will have to pay more money to banks for their placement", – the authors write.

They conclude that there are signs of political persecution in the proceedings against Shevchenko.

"Given the above, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group sees signs of political persecution in the case of Kyrylo Shevchenko and will follow further developments. We hope that the state in general and law enforcement authorities in particular have enough professionalism to avoid political persecution in Ukraine," – summarized the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group.


Shevchenko headed the NBU for more than two years - from July 2020 to October 2022. On October 4th, Shevchenko said that he resigned for health reasons.

On 6th of October, the NABU said that it had exposed a group of former top managers of Ukrgasbank who had stolen more than 200 million hryvnias. Shevchenko, who headed Ukrgasbank before working at the NBU, was informed of the suspicion. On the same day, the Verkhovna Rada supported his resignation.

On the evening of October 6, Shevchenko claimed political pressure and said he had left Ukraine for medical treatment. He did not say how long he had been abroad.

On October 24, the NABU informed that Shevchenko was wanted, and specified that he was notified of the suspicion in a special procedure, as the location of the former NBU head is unknown. On February 8, Shevchenko said on his Facebook that he appealed the NABU wanted list, calling it illegal and noting that the NABU and SAP knew his address "from the first day of his stay in Austria".

On December 8, the Supreme Court of Justice chose an arrest in absentia without the right to bail as a preventive measure for Shevchenko.

On December 10, the Appeals Chamber of the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court rejected over 40 motions of the defense and upheld the decision on the indefinite detention without bail of former NBU head Kyrylo Shevchenko. The former NBU head responded by saying on Facebook that "Supreme Anti-Corruption Court has finally demonstrated that the purpose of an open case is not justice, but prosecution itself."