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UBJ AM News: Jan. 13, 2017
A group of U.S. investors will pour money into a construction project in a key tourist town, the National Bank chief is under investigation, and the oil and gas sector produced more news.
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American investors plan to provide about $140 million to build an airport in the Cherkasy region city of Uman with the intention of increasing tourism, Novoe Vremya reported, citing Episode.ua. The investors signed an agreement with the Economy Ministry with the belief that the airport will make it easier to accommodate Hasidic Jewish pilgrims visiting the tomb of Rabbi Nachman. The airport will be built around an existing military airfield and eventually will handle both military and civilian flights.

Ukraine's National Anti-Corruption Bureau is investigating National Bank chief Valeria Gontareva and Kostyantyn Vorushilin, a fund manager, according to the Prosecutor General's Aide Vladyslav Kutsenko, Unian reported. "This is about the artificial lowering of the value of the assets of 68 liquidated banks ... so those assets could be sold for a pittance to controlled entities, which in turn leads to disastrous consequences for the economy and to mass nonpayment of debts to depositors of banks," said Kutsenko.

The European Parliament praised Ukraine's “significant progress” in implementing reforms last year, most notably in the judiciary, the anti-corruption arena and the e-declaration system, Ukrinform reported. The body cautioned, though, that Ukraine must stabilize its macroeconomic situation.

France's Engie, formerly GDF Suez SA, has been importing natural gas to Ukraine since the start of the year and has so far supplied 3.9 million cubic meters to the Ukrainian gas transportation system, Interfax Ukraine reported. Engie has an agreement to independently supply gas to Ukraine, which could eventually lead to direct sales to Ukrainian traders and consumers. Engie set up a subsidiary, Engie Management Ukraine LLC, for that purpose.

On Wednesday, police once again raided the offices of Poltava Petroleum Company, a subsidiary of Britain's JKX Oil&Gas Plc with assets in Ukraine, according to Interfax Ukraine. "We will be bringing this matter up with the relevant authorities in Kyiv. I believe these actions to be a distraction for JKX and damaging to Ukraine's investment climate," company CEO Tom Reed said Thursday.

New cases of African swine fever were confirmed in four regions: Mykolaiv, Luhansk, Kirovohrad and Odesa, Interfax Ukraine reported. More than 130 pigs died from the infection, and officials are trying to contain the outbreak.

Ukraine's seaports handled 7.5 percent more grain in 2016 than they did the previous year, UkrAgroConsult said. Of the 40.3 million tons of grain handled during 2016 at Ukrainian seaports, Mykolaiv led the way with 9 million tons, followed by Yuzhny (8.21 million), Odesa (8.16 million), Chornomorsk (7.98 million) and Olvia (3.05 million).

The National Radio and TV Council of Ukraine is requiring Ukrainian broadcasters to cease retransmitting Russian TV Channel Dozhd (Rain) within a month because of the station's failure to recognize Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, Interfax Ukraine reported. Kostynsky said that in 2016, Dozhd violated Ukrainian law by broadcasting Russian advertisements and having its journalists visit Crimea.

Ukrainian sugar production in the 2016-17 agricultural year (September-August) rose 40.5% percent from the previous season, the national sugar producers association Ukrtsukor said in a report carried by Interfax Ukraine. Market conditions were favorable for Ukrainian sugar producers. Bad harvests in Brazil and India allowed Ukraine to supply almost 470,000 tons of sugar to foreign markets, mainly to Sri Lanka, Georgia and Tunisia.

For comments and news tips, please email UBJ AM editor David Edwards at david.edwards@theubj.com.

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