Former First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine
Donetsk National University
Mikhailo Arbuzov, Sergei Arbuzov
Our Ukraine, Party of Regions
Oleksandr Viktorovych Klymenko, Oleksandr Yanukovych, Mykola Azarov, Andriy Klyuyev, Serhiy Kurchenko
Deputy PM Ukraine will "soon sign" EU deal
Serhiy Hennadiyovych Arbuzov (Ukrainian: Сергій Геннадійович Арбузов, Sergij Hennadiyovych Arbuzov, Russian: Сергей Геннадьевич Арбузов [Sergei Gennadyevich Arbuzov]) is Ukraine's former First Deputy Prime Minister, who became interim Prime Minister following the resignation of Mykola Azarov on 28 January 2014. On 27 February 2014, Arbuzov was dismissed and Arseniy Yatsenyuk was elected as new Prime Minister.
He was the former chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine. The youngest chairman of the National Bank in Europe as of 2012. In the 2000s Arbuzov worked as a director of several leading Ukrainian banks, including Privatbank and Ukreximbank.
Arbuzov is wanted by the General Prosecutor of Ukraine. Arbuzov’s defence insists that it is political persecution.
Arbuzov was born in Donetsk. He graduated from the Donetsk State University, having specialized in "finance and credit" and qualified as an economist. At the start of his professional career Arbuzov worked as an administration chairman of Privatbank in Donetsk and a director of Privatbank in Kostyantynivka. In 2003-10 he was a director of the Ukrainian Business Bank, previously known as Donechyna.
In 2005 Arbuzov became a member of Our Ukraine and in 2006 unsuccessfully ran for the Donetsk Regional Council as a member of the party. Upon his appointment to the National Bank of Ukraine his political affiliation became uncertain.
In 2010 Arbuzov was appointed chairman of the Supervising Council of UkrEximBank and in September 2010 he became a deputy chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine. On December 21, 2010 the President of Ukraine sent a petition to the parliament to replace Volodymyr Stelmakh with Arbuzov. On December 23, 2010 the Verkhovna Rada approved the petition, making Arbuzov the youngest chairman of a state central bank. After the appointment, the older son of the President, Oleksandr Yanukovych, bought the All-Ukrainian Bank of Development from Arbuzov. The chairperson of the bank is Arbuzov's mother, Valentyna, who also has extensive experience in banking business.
In May 2012 the Ukrainian magazine Focus pointed out that Arbuzov has the highest salary among the Ukrainian civil servants - 140,000 hryvnia per month (approximately $18,000). In the same year another Ukrainian magazine, Korrespondent, placed him among the thirty most influential people in the country.
As the chairman of the National Bank, he was best remembered for a set of measures directed at maintaining the stability of national currency of Ukraine – hryvnia. In particular, it refers to imposition of obligation for importers to sell 50% of their foreign currency revenue at interbank currency market, as well as reduction of term of repayment of currency revenue to 90 days. Alongside this, slowdown of inflation rate was secured.
On 24 December 2012 Viktor Yanukovych appointed Arbuzov First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine by presidential decree.
As the First Vice Prime Minister, he was engaged in European integration issues. In particular, in October and December 2013, Arbuzov held series of meetings with the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle in Brussels, where series of consultations were held on implementation of Association Agreement with European Union. Arbuzov initiated preparation of the so-called “road map” – document, in which Association Agreement process was set out on a phased basis.
While in Government, Arbuzov also initiated series of reforms in taxation system, streamlining of customs procedures, property rights protection, deregulation of business operations, value enhancement etc. On October 29, 2013 World Bank published another Doing Business rating, where Ukraine rose by 28 positions and ranked 112th among 189 analyzed world economics. The best results were seen in obtaining construction permits (from 183rd to 41st rating position), registration of property rights (from 197th to 97th rating position). Ukraine ranked 13th for ease in getting credit by businesses in overall Doing Business rating.
After weeks of Euromaidan protests, and clashes, during which civilians were killed, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov offered his letter of resignation on 28 January 2014. The same day President Yanukovych accepted the resignation and signed a decree dismissing the second Azarov Government, which decree would not take effect until the Verhovna Rada approved a new Cabinet. Hence the second Azarov Government continued as a caretaker government. And Arbuzov replaced Azarov as Prime Minister of Ukraine. On 29 March 2014, during a party congress, Arbuzov was expelled from the Party of Regions. Despite tries to bring about resolution to the dispute between authorities and opposition, Sergij Arbuzov was bound to leave the country after change of regime. Arbuzov is wanted by the General Prosecutor of Ukraine and his believed to be hiding in Russia.
New Ukrainian regime incriminates Arbuzov in theft of 120 million hryvnia of profit of “BTB” channel, which he has initiated to launch. But according to Igor Fomin, Arbuzov’s attorney for the defence, the proceedings should be ceased because “the channel has not made profit for the whole period of its existence”. Thus, according to defence, there is absence of elements of crime. Later General Prosecutor’s Office also confirmed it.
On September 11, 2015, the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine announced arrest of non-resident companies accounts affiliated with Arbuzov in the national banking institutions totaling 49.51 million US dollars, among which there were domestic government bonds with a nominal value of 1.021 billion US dollars and 1.495 billion hryvnia.
Later, a representative of the PGO specified that the 49.3 million US dollars had been arrested by the court in Latvia. No further information about the arrest of domestic government bonds has been provided up to the present moment.
But already in December 2015, the defence of S. Arbuzov collected and released the official responses of the Latvian government agencies. Thus, according to the Information Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Latvia, "there is no information about criminal proceedings initiated against Sergiy Arbuzov." Latvian Grand jury of officers of justice also denies that there are any cases in proceedings records in which Sergiy Arbuzov could be a creditor or debtor. In view of this, according to Sergei Kovalyov, a lawyer of Sergiy Arbuzov, the statement of the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine on the alleged arrest of $49.3 million in S.Arbuzov's accounts by the Latvian law enforcement agencies is not true.
Thus, the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine has not yet been able to confirm any of the accusations against Sergiy Arbuzov since his resignation from the post of Acting Prime Minister of Ukraine.
Arbuzov does not have an Identification Number of Physical Person (similar to a Taxpayer Identification Number in the United States), having refused one for religious reasons. Instead, Arbuzov uses his passport number as the legal alternative.
In January 2015, Arbuzov and experts group from the Association "Centre for Research into Economic and Sociocultural Upward Enhancement of CIS Countries, Central and Eastern Europe" addressed political and public figures of the West and Russia with the initiative to create the so-called "Coalition of intellect". It was noted in an open letter that the conflict in Ukraine has threatened all the positive things that have been achieved in the development of the European security system over the past 25 years. Instead of strengthening stability in the region, the parties of the conflict undermine mutual cooperation and unleash a new arms race. "We need the intervention of the international community, the creation of a broad "Coalition of intellect", coalition for de-escalation. With its help we could find a way out of the situation on the basis of a broad civilized approach, but not a limited geopolitical one", - said ex-prime minister in his letter.