Golden Telecom: “Money-bags and grafters, corrupt officials and scoundrels, lickspittles and spongers” rule in Ukraine

Such strong expressions are used in the letter of Golden Telecom director general Yury Bezborodov addressed to Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. It was written, after the police started to check up all Kiev offices of Golden Telecom, what paralyzed the company’s activity. Yury Bezborodov accused Ukrainian State Committee for Communications and Ukrainian Telecommunications of organizing these check-ups. The conflict between Golden Telecom and Ukrainian Telecommunications is old enough. One and a half years ago, Golden Telecom accused Ukrainian Telecommunications of not meeting its engagements as for rendering 100 thousand of telephone numbers (paid by Golden Telecom with $ 4.1 million) and as for paying off $ 1,6 million credit. At first, the company won the suit, though later the Supreme Arbitrary Court decided the case in favour of Ukrainian Telecommunications. At the moment, according to the company’s leaders, the conflict flamed up, after Ukrainian Telecommunications’ leaders forced Golden Telecom to sign statements in sum of $ 6,4 million for the company’s network connect in Kiev, while not rendering any documents confirming this sum. According to the company’s estimation, the sum should be much smaller. In the letter, there is an assumption that Ukrainian Telecommunication’s leadership is deliberately obtaining Golden Telecom to leave the Ukrainian market. The case was not settled in the court, so the letter to the President (similar letters were sent to Prime-Minister A.Kinakh and the parliament’s speaker I.Plyusch) is the last hope to achieve justice. Otherwise, “money-bags and grafters, corrupt officials and scoundrels, lickspittles and spongers” will still rule in the country, quotes the letter. However, Ukrainian Internet editions also present the position of Golden Telecom Inc. American-Russian company possessing 69 percent of Golden Telecom stocks: “Bezborodov cannot speak in the name of the company and makes all the statements as a private person.” Moreover, the company’s manager in Ukraine Jeff Howler said that Golden Telecom company had not officially permitted to the director to contact the press.” While Yury Bezborodov himself says that he was appointed by the company’s stockholders and he is accountable only to them. Golden Telecom was created in 1996 as a joint Ukrainian-American company. At the moment, it is a part of Golden Telecom Inc. international holding. Ukrainian founders possess 31 percent of stocks. The company is the operator of mobile and immobile connection. According to Obozrevatel agency, Golden Telecom’s income made in 2001 $ 37.5 million. On Friday, workers of the Fight against Organized Criminal Office carried out a search in the company’s head office and in another one, where two switchboards of mobile connection are situated, and seized some documents. A shop of the company was closed. According to Y.Bezborodov, the search was carried according to Public Prosecutor’s sanction written out on the base of the case Bezborodov found to exist just before the search. What the case that is and why the action was brought, Golden Telecom leadership does not know yet.

Andrei Lubenski PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Vera Solovieva

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