Ukrainian bank chief was dismissed and house arrested after a conflict with journalists

Kiev — Ukraine’s third-largest bank dismissed its chairman on Monday after police ordered him to be under house arrest while police were investigating a dispute with a journalist in his office.

Police and prosecutors began the investigation last week after Radio Liberty stated that state-owned Ukreximbank staff had attacked a team of journalists investigating bank lending practices.

Ukreximbank’s supervisory board apologized to journalists for suspending chairman Yevgen Metsger after Radio Liberty aired the video and audio of the incident. Metsger said he would resign if police found him guilty of a crime.

The Kiev City Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement on Monday that the court ordered Metzger to continue house arrest every night from 10 pm to 6 am.

“Two people, the head of the bank and the head of information policy, were put under house arrest at night,” he said.

Metsger was not immediately asked to comment, but he apologized for having previously described him as “an overly emotional reaction to journalists and unrestrained behavior.”

The bank’s board of auditors issued a statement on Monday night, stating that Metsger himself had officially launched “his own initiative to terminate the fixed-term employment contract” and was subsequently dismissed.

The bank said it had appointed a temporary chair until a permanent replacement was found by April next year at the latest.

Radio Liberty said reporters for the program “Schemes” are investigating bank lending. Banks denied cheating on loans and said the bank secrecy law prevented them from discussing the issue.

Radio Liberty said the bank managed to restore it despite trying to remove footage of the conflict with Metsger. In the video, Metsger refuses to interview and orders staff to seize the camera and destroy all footage.

Natalia Zinets and Ilya Zegrev