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Ukrainian American Bar Association

UABA News Blog - In English

This UABA Blog page provides information and commentary on issues that are relevant to the organization and its members. Although the blogs are public, comments can only be made by members. If yoiu wish to join the discussion, you are welcome to become a member.

The comments expressed on these blogs represent the opinions of the authors and not that of the UABA.

  • 08 Dec 2010 11:50 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Update on -- Ukraine Files a RICO Complaint in Oregon

    On October 15, 2010, news wires reported that Ukraine had filed a RICO complaint in Oregon claiming that during the tenure of Julia Tymoshenko as Prime Minister, Ukraine was defrauded of nearly 1/2 billion dollars. http://uaba.org/Default.aspx?pageId=774425&mode=PostView&bmi=444696 

    On December 8, The Minister of Finance of Ukraine Fedir Yaroshenko stated in a press briefing today that the Ministry's investigation of the recently conducted international audit had revealed the embezzlement of 3 billion UAH (USD 375 million) by Yulia Tymoshenko's government. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ukraines-finance-ministry-claims-previous-government-embezzled-usd-375-million-111513624.html

    The full investigative report is available at the following site.  http://minfin.gov.ua/document/274231/report1.pdf

  • 03 Dec 2010 4:43 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Amended Tax Code Passed by Ukraine's Parliament
     -- is it enough of a change?

    The tax code originally vetoed by Pres. Yanukovych on Nov. 30, 2010 has been hurriedly modified and re-adopted by the Verchovna Rada on Dec. 2 at the President's behest. But will it satisfy the International Monetary Fund's demands for tax reform? Will it satisfy the demands of the demonstrators? Or will there be another showdown at the Majdan? Read  the various opinions below.

    Boston Globe Ukrainian Parliament passes controversial tax code

    Kyiv Post Ukraine softens tax blow on small business

    Kyiv Post Adopted tax cosde won't solve problems of businessmen

    BBC News Ukraine police clear Kiev tax protesters' camp

    Ukr. News Agency Tymoshenko For Cancellation Of Tax Code Passed By Rada With Yanukovych' Proposals


  • 03 Dec 2010 10:09 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    The President of Ukraine signed the Law Implementing
    Electronic Registration of Legal Entities

    Asters Law Firm Newsletter, Kyiv, Ukraine
    On 10 November 2010, the President of Ukraine signed the Law of Ukraine introducing the electronic registration of legal entities and individual entrepreneurs, dated as of 19 October 2010 No. 2609-VI (the "Law"). This system is anticipated to provide for the transparency of the incorporation procedures and their simplification in the presumable absence of bureaucratic protraction. The Law was also aimed at eliminating forgery of the documents filed for registration, counteracting to corrupt practices and corporate raid, as well as facilitating public access to information from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs (the "Register").
    The Law shall become effective on 14 August 2011.

    The facilitation methods of the state registration of business entities were a long-debated issue over the last years. One of them is the introduction of online business registration system, which is widely employed in the European Union. In 2009, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the Action Plan for the introduction of the electronic registration system of business entities. Enactment of the Law is intended to mark the final stage of this process. However, in view of pendency of certain legal and technical issues, there are doubts that the Law provisions would suffice for effective improvement of incorporation process in Ukraine.

    The Law is deemed to minimize the notoriously exhausting communication with the state registrar. Applicants will have an option to submit the electronic documents in order to effect registration of a company. The state registrar shall keep record of received electronic documents and notify the applicants of their receipt. The electronic documents and registration card shall be attested by the electronic digital signature. The payment of registration fee shall be confirmed by an electronic settlement document, attested by the electronic digital signature. The applicant shall be notified of the rejection of its application by an electronic message from the state registrar.

    However, the electronic system cannot be used in case of registration of changes to the constituent documents of a legal entity: the relevant documents shall be submitted solely in hard copy, not in the electronic form. In addition, some documents (e.g. certificate from the Register on reservation of the name of a legal entity) should still be sent in hard copy to the state registrar.

    All necessary information concerning the electronic format of outgoing documents, as well as programs to create and submit documents necessary for the registration of business entities will be freely accessed on the official website of the State Committee of Ukraine for Regulatory Policy and Entrepreneurship. Electronic requests will ease obtaining official information from the Register on the Ukrainian business counterparties.

    Anticipated challenges
    Notwithstanding these indisputably positive innovations, the efficiency of introduced measures does not appear to be conclusive. In particular, the necessity to use the electronic digital signature obtained from centre for key validation with the object of execution of electronic documents – may render this new option impracticable for many potential applicants. The whole process of sending documents will undoubtedly be accelerated, as compared to the use of regular mail, but the new system will not release the applicants from compliance with traditional offline post-registration procedures (e.g. submitting documents to various funds and tax authorities), which are still cumbersome and time-consuming.

    Consequently, the positive effect of the Law implementation may eventually be stultified without due respect of outstanding practical and other issues.

  • 01 Dec 2010 12:30 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Viktor Yanukovych vetoes unpopular tax

    As has been predicted,  Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych has responded to protests that have swept the country by vetoing a controversial tax reform.
  • 29 Nov 2010 9:07 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    The Ghost of November Past!

    Commentary by Myroslaw Smorodsky
    President Yanukovych is experiencing a variation on the classic December tale “A Christmas Carol”. Rather than seeing a revelation about the true meaning of December’s Christmas, it is the prior events in the month of November that are giving him sleepless and frightening nights.  The irony of the situation should not be ignored. In 2004, it was November’s Orange demonstrators that were in vogue on the “Maidan” [Kyiv’s central plaza that hosted the Orange Revolution] and denied Yanukovych the presidency of Ukraine.  Now it is the Tax Revolution with small business owners from all political persuasions that have taken to the “Maidan” and are throwing a wrench into his allegedly “unassailable” administration.

    One of Yanukovych’s lynchpin planks in his political program was purported tax reform.  It was his Party of Regions that crafted the legislation and guided it carefully though Ukraine’s Parliament – the Verchovna Rada.  Its passage was lauded by international political pundits and applauded by the EU as a step in the right direction paving the way for IMF financing of Ukraine’s deficit economy.  

    But “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum Maidan”.   

    The Ukrainian middle class, small-business owners were outraged that the alleged “tax reform” gave preferential treatment to the rich oligarchs at their expense.  Having no response from the legislators to their pleas, they did what all good Ukrainians do – they decided to demonstrate.  So a tent city began to sprout on the Maidan.  And now Yanukovych seems to have blinked first.  He and his administration have stated that there is a strong probability that he will veto the legislation. We have yet to see whether these statements are accurate.  If he does not veto the legislation, then we can anticipate that the tax revolutionaries, having drawn first blood, will escalate their occupation of the “Maidan” creating a critical showdown with the president – which many observers predict he will lose. 

    In any event, the present situation has clearly shown that Yanukovych is not a replica of Putin.  Yanukovych’s administration is susceptible to the pressures of public opinion and his invincibility cloak has been compromised.  This may foreshadow future Maidan showdowns if Yanukovych attempts to mimic the repressiveness of Ukraine’s neighbor to the north.

    see RFE/RL reports on protests at http://www.rferl.org/content/ukraine_tax_protest/2234226.html

  • 27 Nov 2010 5:19 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)
    Controversial tax reform headed for veto in Ukraine
    (AFP) – KIEV
    Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said on Saturday that he was likely to veto a controversial tax reform that has sparked the largest protests in the country since the 2004 Orange Revolution.  "The likelihood of a veto is high," Yanukovych said during a meeting with a group of Kiev protesters composed of small business leaders.
    SEE YOUTUBE Video of tax protests in Kyiv  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCEhhlzyWqQ&feature=channel
  • 27 Nov 2010 5:07 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Draft tax code brings many international changes
    Sergiy Melnyk of Salans in Ukraine describes how the new draft tax code in Ukraine constitutes a significant  departure from previous international tax provision in the country. Read entire article at http://salans.com/~/media/Assets/Salans/Publications/2010/20100924-Salans-Kyiv-Draft-Tax-Code-Sergiy-Melnyk-International-Tax-Review-September-2010.ashx

    ED NOTE: since the publishing of the article, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted the new tax code on November 18 which has sparked numerous demonstrations. SEE YOUTUBE Video of tax protests in Kyiv  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCEhhlzyWqQ&feature=channel


  • 26 Nov 2010 6:31 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Ukraine's National Bank Requires Individual Licenses for Payments
    by Ukrainian Sureties to Foreign Creditors

    BY Armen Khachaturyan,  Senior Partner, Asters Law Firm, Kyiv
         On 15 November 2010 the National Bank of Ukraine (the "NBU") issued an official clarification letter (the "Letter") regarding the currency restrictions applicable to payments by Ukrainian sureties and guarantors to foreign creditors under guarantee (garantiya) and surety (poruka) agreements. In the Letter the NBU explained that in order to make a payment to a foreign creditor a Ukrainian surety must obtain an individual license from the NBU unless the surety is an authorized bank or financial institution.
         At the same time Ukrainian banks can make payments as guarantors or sureties without an individual license. Non-banking financial institutions do not need an individual license for such payments if they have a general license for transactions with foreign currency.  Read Article http://www.asterslaw.com/upload/medialibrary/newsletters/asters_newsletter_eng_23_11_10.html

  • 25 Nov 2010 11:01 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Ukraine Strengthens its Anti-Corruption Laws
    By Tatyana Tugolukova

         Unfortunately, when doing business in Ukraine, foreign and Ukrainian companies are often faced with requests by public officials to provide “contributions,” “facilitation payments,”or worse, in order to accomplish routine work. Western companies are familiar with these issues as well as Ukrainian requirements.     However, as of January 1, 2011, Ukraine’s legislation is significantly changing – for the better – in tackling these problems. Finally, the scope of corruption practices and prohibitions in Ukraine has been expanded, in large part because of Ukraine’s international obligations stemming from the UN Convention against Corruption and the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption, which Ukraine ratified in 2006.

    Read More http://salans.com/~/media/Assets/Salans/Publications/2010/20101015-Salans-Kyiv-Anti-Corruption-Law-Ukraine-Tatyana-Tugolukova-September-2010.ashx

  • 23 Nov 2010 9:24 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Miranda Warning Lost in Translation!

    Steve Grogoza, a well known criminal defense lawyer in Naples, FL – and UABA Board of Governor’s Chairman --- successfully argued that his Spanish speaking client was denied his Miranda Rights as a result of translation errors during questioning by police.  Grogoza contended that a detective not only translated the conversation inaccurately but that investigators had deceived the suspect by promising his confession would be heard by no one outside of the room.

    Read Entire Story
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