Canadian green energy investors pull out of Ukraine over unresolved conflict with Ukrainian oligarchs

28 December 2021, 07:31 PM

Canadian company TIU Canada (aka Ecotechnic Nikopol) has dismantled all of the equipment at its solar energy station in Nikopol following a two-year-long unresolved conflict with Nikopol Ferroalloy Plant. 

According to Voice of America, the Canadian businessmen behind the company claim they have fallen victim to raider attacks staged by Ukrainian oligarchs.

The green energy company entered Ukraine in 2016, where it operated on premises owned by Nikopol Ferroalloy Plant, which is controlled by notorious Ukrainian oligarchs Ihor Kolomoisky and Viktor Pinchuk. Kolomoisky is known for backing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s presidential campaign.

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TIU Canada became the first Canadian company to come to Ukraine under the groundbreaking Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement, with an investment worth over 65 million Canadian dollars. The Canadian company received personal guarantees from Zelensky at an investment conference in Ottawa.

In 2020 the renewable energy station was cut off the electricity grid, allegedly so that planned repairs could be carried out. The subsequent two years of forced downtime have cost TIU Canada millions of dollars, but no repairs have been done yet, says the company’s CEO, Michael Yurkovich.

Yurkovich adds that Kolomoisky offered to buy the electricity station for next to nothing.

TIU Canada turned to the justice system to resolve the conflict in 2020 but got no results.

There has been a lot of foot-dragging and no final decision has been made by the courts, the Canadian investors say, adding that the failure of the justice system to protect their legal interests, paired with threats and political pressure involved in the trial, were the final straw.

“The justice system has failed to protect our investments in Nikopol, so we have decided to pull out,” said Yurkovich.

“This situation is quite typical for the last two years in this country. Foreign governments and investors as well as diaspora members have to acknowledge that such situations do not only affect TIU but other businesses as well. Things are only getting worse and we no longer want to play this game.”

Nikopol Ferroalloy Plant, on the other hand, alleges that the Canadian investors took to blackmail, and blocked vital electricity network repairs that endangered electricity generation.

Ukrainian Business Ombudsman Marcin Swiecicki commented that he was not able to intervene until the end of court proceedings. However, he remarked that planned repairs on the company premises could not have taken as long as two years.

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