Ukraine’s anti-graft agencies announce 15 new suspects in Rotterdam Plus case
New suspicions were announced in the Rotterdam Plus case (Photo:centrenergo.com)
Ukraine’s anti-corruption agencies have served 15 former and current members of the National Commission for State Regulation of Energy and Public Utilities (NCRECP) with charge papers in the Rotterdam Plus case, the agencies’ press services have reported.
The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) served the suspects with charge papers on Oct. 26, the agencies said.
According to the NABU, the 15 people included former and current officials of the NCRECP, as well as officials from a group of private heat generating companies involved in the implementation and application of the so-called “Rotterdam Plus formula.”
In particular, the anti-graft agencies charged two former heads of the energy regulator, six former and three current members of the NCRECP, current and former employees of the commission, as well as current and former officials of a group of private heat generating companies.
According to the SAPO, electricity consumers were illegally overcharged more than UAH 20 billion ($547 million) in 2018-2019 as a result of the application of the Rotterdam Plus formula.
“This is the second episode of a large-scale investigation by anti-graft agencies. The first one, regarding the illegal overcharging of over UAH 19 billion ($519.5 million), was completed in September 2022,” NABU said.
The investigation believes that costs for services that were not actually performed were included in the Rotterdam Plus formula, namely the transportation of coal from the national producer to thermal power plants from the port of Rotterdam, the SAPO said.
Thus, electricity consumers were overcharged over UAH 39 billion ($1 billion) in 2016-2019.
The investigation found that the representatives of a group of private heat generating companies convinced individual members of the NCRECP to accept such a calculation formula. As a result, these companies received excess profits.
“As a result, there was an unreasonable payment by all electricity consumers due to the increase in electricity tariffs,” the message says.
The SAPO added that other members of the NCRECP “improperly performed their official duties … and voted for the approval of the so-called Rotterdam Plus formula, which later caused grave consequences to the state and public interests.”
Six of the above-mentioned persons are charged with committing crimes under Part 2 of Article 364 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The actions of other persons are qualified under Part 2 of Art. 367 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
In September of this year, the NABU and the SAPO completed the investigation into the Rotterdam Plus case.
In the summer of 2019, the NABU charged six persons involved in the implementation of the Rotterdam Plus formula with causing losses of UAH 18.87 billion ($516 million) to electricity consumers. These are former NCRECP head Dmytro Vovk, former member of the NCRECP Volodymyr Yevdokymov, as well as two employees of the NCRECP and two top managers of the DTEK energy holding owned by Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov.
According to the investigation, DTEK representatives put pressure on the NCRECP’s management to include costs that did not actually exist in the tariff for electricity produced by the group’s TPPs, namely for the delivery and transhipment of thermal coal in Ukraine from European ports.
In March 2016, the NCRECP approved the Rotterdam Plus formula. This caused the cost of all electricity to rise. As a result, the prices of goods and services for the end consumer, including basic necessities, increased.
At the same time, DTEK said they consider NABU’s claims to be “groundless and unjustified.”
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