Ukraine's Deposit Guarantee Fund on February 6 will hold another auction to sell a pool of assets belonging to OJSC VAB Bank, which includes credit claims. The starting price of lots is UAH 1.17 billion (US$48.2 million). During the bidding, it may drop to UAH 234.4 million (US$9.6 million) (the minimum price set). However, the bank's ex-owner, Oleg Bakhmatyuk, is offering to return UAH 8 billion (US$330 million), while no response has been received yet from the Fund and the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU).
On January 16, the Deposit Guarantee Fund already held an auction to sell the said pool of assets. The starting price was UAH 5.86 billion (US$241.7 million). During the bidding, it dropped to UAH 1.17 billion (US$48.2 million). But in the end, the lot was never sold. The auction was held by LLC First Financial Network Ukraine. The sale of a land plot in Zakarpattia region worth UAH 3,200 (US$132) was the only deal sealed at the bidding, according to the Ukrainian online news outlet Obozrevatel.
VAB Bank was in 2014 withdrawn from the market along with most Ukrainian banks during the so-called Ukrainian banking system purge – a large-scale campaign to liquidate banks in keeping with the NBU's decision – although the bank's credit rating had been at 'uaAA' (very high reliability in the long run) and was considered one of Ukraine's most reliable banks. Most loans in the pool are pledged by the NBU. According to the Fund, the relevant assets "were traded up to 10 times both separately and as part of the pool in the ProZorro.Sales system, but none of the buyers have shown interest in them yet."
Ex-owner of VAB Bank Bakhmatyuk has offered to repay the bank debt to the state worth UAH 8 billion, using restructuring mechanisms. However, the businessman has not yet received a response to his offer from the NBU and the Fund. Meanwhile, the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) has begun interrogating 10,000 employees of Bakhmatyuk's agricultural companies. According to the press service of the agricultural holding, the reason was the conflict of interests of NABU Director Artem Sytnyk – the court found him guilty of corruption and put into the register of corrupt officials, which threatens his post. The main witness for the prosecution in this case was an advisor to Bakhmatyuk's sister.