Privatization Of Ukrainian Steel Company Ruled Illegal

Late last week, a Ukrainian court ruled that the privatization of the country's largest steel enterprise, Krivorizhstal, was illegal. The decision paves the way for the sale to be annulled by the supreme court. The announcement came a day after Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said the government planned to review past privatizations of thousands of enterprises.

The ruling was issued by a tribunal in Kiev which reversed a court judgment from last August declaring that the sale last year of the Krivorizhstal plant had taken place legally. Tymoshenko announced that this strategic factory would be returned to state control "in the coming weeks".

Cancellation of the Krivorizhstal plant's privatization would mark the first in what many expect to be a long list of "strategic" enterprises that the new authorities in Ukraine claim were privatized fraudulently under the regime of the former president, Leonid Kuchma.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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