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Experts assess the situation with Fondy payment service

Experts assess the situation with Fondy payment service Experts assess the situation with Fondy payment service (photo: facebook com)
Author: RBC Ukraine

Experts have evaluated the situation surrounding the payment service Fondy (LLC "FC "Alliance") in Ukraine, following the potential acquisition by Georgian TBC Bank, which has elicited a negative response from the expert community, according to the company’s press service.

The National Bank of Ukraine blocked Fondy's operations, removing it from the registry of the Visa/Mastercard payment system. The regulator claimed to have received "documented information from special services indicating that the activities of the international payment system participant pose risks to Ukraine's national security."

Serhiy Lyamets, former editor-in-chief of Ekonomichna Pravda ("Economic Truth") online newspaper noted that "no evidence has yet been made public." He described the situation as "a business assassination" involving officials from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the National Bank (NBU).

"Also note that the NBU refuses to comment. Fondy has been accused of links with Russia, but no evidence has been provided. The company indeed operated in Russia from 2014 to 2022. However, the company terminated its licensing agreement with the Russian service after the full-scale invasion. For almost two years, the NBU had no complaints - and suddenly found out. Interestingly, the NBU has no issues with Raiffeisen Bank and OTP Bank, which officially and currently operate in Russia," said Lyamets.

According to expert Borys Kushniruk, the situation with Fondy is "another example of non-transparent decision-making."

"The absurdity of this decision by the NBU lies in the fact that at that time, the owner of this company had already received permission to sell it to a foreign investor (a British public company) for millions of euros (which were to become an investment in the Ukrainian financial market). The NBU was, of course, aware of the preparations for the sale, as the regulator had received all the documents and was supposed to officially 'bless' the deal", said Kushniruk.

Both experts noted that the situation with Fondy is another instance of abuse of power by certain officials, rather than "a mythical threat to national security."

It should be recalled that the National Bank canceled the registration of LLC "FC "Alliance" (TM Fondy) in payment systems due to "a threat to Ukraine's national security." Shortly before this decision, the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) allowed Georgian TBC Bank to acquire the Fondy service from the Ukrainian company. Fondy considers the NBU’s decision unfounded.