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Ukraine's leader asks lawmakers to adopt 'anti-oligarch' law

Ukraine's leader asks lawmakers to adopt 'anti-oligarch' law

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy looks on during his annual news conference at the Antonov aircraft plant in Kyiv, Ukraine May 20, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

KYIV: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged parliament on Wednesday (Jun 2) to adopt a proposed law he said would curb the influence of 'oligarchs', or politically powerful business figures who have dominated the country for decades.

The text has not been released, but the authorities say the bill will include a definition of oligarchs that applies to a small number of wealthy businessmen, and restrict their ability to shape policy.

Ukraine's allies and major donors have consistently criticised Kyiv for not reining in oligarchs, who own the leading television channels and influence political decision-making.

"The bill does not violate the fundamental rights of people who fall under the definition of an oligarch, but only defines the circle of these people and establishes the rules of their transparent relations with government officials," the office said.

"In particular, it will regulate meetings and other relationships between government officials and those with significant assets."

Local media have said more than 10 Ukrainians may fall under the definition of an oligarch, but the authorities have not named even one of them.

The office said the law, limited to 10 years, should be "the first step towards the elimination of the oligarchic system" in Ukraine. The law should become the basis for antitrust and lobbying legislation, it added.

During his presidential campaign two years ago, Zelenskiy promised to step up the fight against corruption, a major obstacle to economic development in the country with a population of 41 million.

Source: Reuters

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