The president’s representative in the Verkhovna Rada, Bloc of Petro Poroshenko MP Iryna Lutsenko, has denied the attempt to minimize taxes as the goal of restructuring the presidential Roshen confectionery corporation transferred to a “blind trust.”
“The companies of the international holding company, when transferring Roshen to a blind trust, did not have bank accounts. Any allegations of violation of currency legislation or transfer of any cash from Ukraine in the creation of this structure are unfounded inventions. We would ask everyone to formulate very accurately what was heard and distorted, twisted [in the journalistic investigation],” Lutsenko said at a meeting of the parliament’s conciliatory council in Kyiv on Monday.
The parliamentarian said that it was necessary to create an international holding structure to transfer Roshen to a “blind trust.”
“This international holding structure was set up to avoid double taxation in order to ensure that all taxes were paid in full in Ukraine, not abroad,” she said.
“The creation of this international holding structure was mandatory, because according to the 1985 Hague Convention, it was impossible to transfer [the company] to Rothschild’s trust management. These are international conditions; this is an international convention,” the politician added.
Roshen Corporation is one of the top 30 largest confectionery manufacturers in the world. It includes confectionery factories in Kyiv, Kremenchuk and Vinnytsia, and the Vinnytsia Dairy Plant in Ukraine; as well as the Klaipeda Confectionery Factory in Lithuania and the BonbonettiChoco factory in Hungary. The Lipetsk factory in Russia stopped production on April 1, 2017
According to the contract signed by President Petro Poroshenko in January 2016, he transferred his 85% stake in the corporation to the independent blind trust of Rothschild Trust. The bank managing the trust also has a four-year power of attorney to negotiate the sale of assets. Roshen President Viacheslav Moskalevsky owns 13% through the Kondyterinvest investment fund, and four other top managers own 0.5% each.
On November 5, 2017, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Slidstvo-Info published a journalistic investigation, according to which the goal of restructuring the Roshen confectionary corporation and the creation of offshore companies was to minimize taxes, rather than transfer the company to a blind trust.
“Apparently, offshore firms were created precisely in order to avoid taxation in case of sale or profit,” the investigators said.