30 Nov 2023 14:07

Talk of Kyivstar nationalization would be step back - Pompeo

MOSCOW. Nov 30 (Interfax) - Kyivstar, Ukraine's largest mobile operator owned by VEON, is a "pearl" of the Ukrainian economy, and talking about its nationalization would be a step back, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who recently joined Kyivstar's board as an independent non-executive director, said.

"This talk of nationalization would be a step back because Ukraine will need a huge amount of private sector investment, foreign direct investment, as well as support from Europe and the private sector of the United States to overcome the consequences of the crisis," Ukrainian media quoted Pompeo as saying in an interview with the NV media outlet.

Kyivstar has served the Ukrainian people "incredibly well" and has been "incredibly generous," he said.

"If property rights, including of shareholders in the U.S., are not protected, and companies that benefit the Ukrainian people are not preserved, this will be a strategic mistake for Ukraine and will make rebuilding Ukraine and supporting the country in the years to come much more difficult and expensive, and capital flows much more limited," he said.

Now is the time to start attracting foreign investors to Ukraine, he said.

Pompeo said that a few months ago he visited Kiev with a group of private investors, who were searching for ways and options to invest in Ukraine and to bring profit to their stockholders.

"I think American investors are fully prepared for this, but they should do so with confidence that they can invest in Ukraine in a way that is beneficial to their companies, that their staff will be treated well, that the capital they invest in Ukraine will be protected from confiscation or nationalization," Pompeo said.

As reported, the Security Service of Ukraine said on October 6, 2023 that 100% of Kyivstar corporation rights had been frozen. The Shevchenkovsky District Court of Kiev later adjusted its decision, adding that the measure applies to 47.85% of the corporate rights in Kyivstar which allegedly belong to persons subject to sanctions.

VEON filed a motion with a court, challenging the freezing of the shares.