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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ukraine Will Not Contest Pinchuk's Rights Over Plant

KIEV -- The Ukrainian government will not contest billionaire Viktor Pinchuk's rights over a ferroalloy plant, one of a number of privatizations that had been probed by the courts to make sure deals struck were fair and transparent.

Ukraine's Supreme Court ruled at first that the 2003 tender for Nikopol -- won by Pinchuk, the son-in-law of former President Leonid Kuchma -- was illegal, but in April it ruled again, this time confirming Pinchuk's property rights.

The country's body overseeing privatization, the State Property Fund, said Friday that the government had acknowledged in front of a Kiev court that no law was broken during the tender for the company.

Pinchuk, one of the richest men in Ukraine, paid about $80 million for a controlling stake in the plant, a valuable asset in his business empire, which includes concerns ranging from metals and pipe making to banking and finance operations.

President Viktor Yushchenko's government, headed by then-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, investigated a number of what she called "dubious" privatizations shortly after the "Orange Revolution" swept both of them into power.

The reviews led to the resale of Ukraine's largest steel mill Kryvorizhstal for $4.8 billion. It had initially been privatized for $800 million and bought by a Pinchuk-led consortium.

Yushchenko has since then softened his approach toward probing old privatization deals, a policy that had caused a stir among both foreign and domestic investors.

After sacking Tymoshenko, and to solve a long period of political deadlock, Yushchenko appointed as prime minister his archrival from the Orange revolution, Viktor Yanukovych, who has strong ties with the country's business elite.