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Two assailants on Skhemy journalists in Ukreximbank reinstated in office

11.11.2021, 17:24
Screenshot from the Skhemy's video
Screenshot from the Skhemy's video

Two assailants who on order of Yevhen Metzger, the Chairman of the Board of Ukreximbank, used force against Skhemy’s journalists on October 4, were reinstated in their positions. Igor Telbizov, Director of the Banking Security Department of Ukreximbank, and Oleg Osipov, Head of the Bank's Internal Security Department, could return to work, as it was confirmed to Skhemy by several independent sources in Ukreximbank JSC, as Radio Svoboda reported.

The fact of reinstatement of two employees was also officially confirmed by Radio Svoboda in the financial institution.

Igor Telbizov and Oleg Osipov are charged with criminal offence.

The order to reinstate Telbizov and Osipov is dated of November 9. The document referred to the completion of an internal investigation in the bank. The editorial office also addressed the press service of Ukreximbank in writing with additional questions, in particular with a request to provide information on the results of the internal investigation.

Earlier, Igor Telbizov was suspended from office. Oleg Osipov's suspension was not publicly announced, but he was also notified of a suspicion, and later a formal charge in a criminal case of assault on journalists.

The investigation qualified the actions of Igor Telbizov, director of the banking security department, and Oleg Osipov, head of the internal security department, under two criminal articles: 171 (“Illegal seizure of materials and technical equipment collected by a journalist, obstruction of a journalist by an official”) and 126 “Intentionally committing acts of violence that caused physical pain and did not cause bodily harm”). The pre-trial investigation of the criminal proceedings has already been completed, the case has been sent to court, and a preparatory hearing is scheduled for November 29, 2021.

Earlier, the Supervisory Board dismissed the Chairman of the Board of Ukreximbank Yevhen Metzger. Director of the Information Policy Department Volodymyr Pikalov himself wrote a letter of resignation, which was granted.

As IMI reported, on November 2, law enforcement officers filed charging documents against four people suspected of obstructing the legitimate professional activities of journalists with “Skhemy”. 

The actions of two other employees of the bank, namely the head of the Department of Banking Security and the head of the Department of Internal Security of Civil Protection and Security of the bank are qualified by h.h. 1, 3 st. 171, part 1 of Art. 126 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine - illegal seizure of information the journalist collected and technical means he used for his professional activity, influencing in any form a journalist in order to prevent him from performing professional duties committed by an official using his official opinions; intentionally committing acts of violence that caused physical pain and did not cause bodily harm.

But then, the lawyer of the journalist and cameraman of "Skhemy" Anatoliy Popov claimed that the prosecutor's office sent to court the case files without key evidence which are the original audio recording of the incident and the video of the attack. 

 As IMI reported, on October 4 in Kyiv, employees of the state-owned Ukreximbank used brute force against  the film crew of "Skhemy" while recording an interview with the chairman of the financial institution Yevhen Metzher right in his office.

The Kyiv Police has initiated criminal proceedings for obstructing the professional activities of journalists of the “Schemes” program (Part 1 of Article 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

Ukreximbank accused “Skhemy” journalists of misappropriating information with limited access (banking secrecy) and violating the Code of Ethics for Ukrainian Journalists.

On October 4, journalists for “Skhemy”were summoned for questioning as victims to establish all the circumstances of the incident at Ukreximbank during a recording of an interview with Chairman of the Board Yevhen Metzher.

On October 4, the editorial board of "Skhemy" managed to restore the video deleted by Ukreximbank employees during the attack on the film crew in the office of the head of the state bank Yevhen Metzher.

On October 5, the Supervisory Board of Ukreximbank announced that it had begun investigating the circumstances of the conflict with “Schemy” journalists.

On October 6, Ukreximbank's Chairman of the Board Yevhen Metzher said he would step down from office during the police investigation and an internal bank investigation into the conflict with “Skhemy” journalists.

On October 6, Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said that the Office of the Prosecutor General would not cover for the actions of employees of the state-owned Ukreximbank who attacked the TV crew of the "Skhemy" program. The person in charge will be notified of the suspicion.

On October 6, the Supervisory Board of Ukreximbank decided to suspend the Chairman of the Board of Ukreximbank Yevhen Metzher from the exercise of his powers for the duration of the internal investigation.

On October 6, police officers requalified the case on the grounds of a crime under Part 3 of Art. 171 of the Criminal code of Ukraine (Obstruction of lawful professional activity of journalists by an officer). The initial registration at the request of journalists was under Part 1 of Art. 171 (obstruction by denial of access, seizure of equipement, illegitimate ban to cover some issues and so on).

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