Ukraine’s top court overturns verdict against Firtash’s former manager
Photo: Group DF

The Supreme Court of Ukraine has overturned the verdict against Volodymyr Syvak, a former director of the Zaporizhzhya Titanium-Magnesium Plant (ZTMK) who was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on corruption charges last December.

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In its decision taken on 4 July, Ukraine’s top court overturned the decision of the high anti-corruption court and sent the case back to the appeals court – the third time Mr Syvak’s verdict will be revised.

In 2021, the appeals chamber of the high anti-corruption court acquitted him of embezzlement through abuse of office, upholding the verdict of a lower court, but the Supreme Court overturned the ruling and ordered a new trial.

In December 2022, the appeals chamber of the anti-graft court overturned the previous decision and instead sentenced Mr Syvak to three years and six months in prison with a three-year disqualification from holding managerial positions.

He was found guilty of abuse of office, which caused ZTMK to suffer losses of UAH 18.6 million.

This time, the Supreme Court ordered to reclassify Mr Syvak’s charges, leading to a more lenient punishment.

ZTMK was established on the basis of Zaporizhzhia TMK, which is the only producer of sponge titanium in Ukraine and Europe. It was 51-percent owned by the state property fund, with the rest belonging to Tolexis Trading Limited, where Dmytro Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch, was the beneficiary.

Mr Firtash's company acquired his stake in ZTMK in 2013, when the state created the Zaporizhzhia Titanium and Magnesium Plant, which was given the property complex of the state-owned enterprise of the same name.

The oligarch, represented by Tolexis Trading, was supposed to invest USD 110 million in the company and receive a 49-percent stake in return. He succeeded in having his management appointed and, consequently, most of the funds were spent on repaying debts for energy and to creditors related to Mr Firtash’s Group DF.

Later, the funds were withdrawn from Ukraine to offshore accounts, and only UAH 20 million was allocated to modernise the company.

Since 2016, the government has been seeking to return ZTMK to state ownership. In May 2022, the Supreme Court put an end to this case by rejecting Tolexis Trading’s appeal and returning the company's entire property complex to state ownership.