After the arrival of Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his team, smuggling in Ukraine did not disappear anywhere, but flourished even more.
Yuri Romanenko talks about this with businessman Seyar Kurshutov. In the conversation, they also touched on the topic of the influence of covid on Ukrainian business under the new quarantine restrictions.
Friends, hello everyone. We’re on air again. My guest is Seyar Kurshutov, a businessman and influential person, because he is so influential that the leading Telegram channels began to place various information campaigns against him.
They seem to have already finished. Good afternoon, Yura.
Yes. But nevertheless, in narrow circles they caused a resonance, because you were accused of either creating or supervising the shadow headquarters of smuggling. And, accordingly, the question – what do you have to do with this in general?
Some kind of informational, with the light hand of some anonymous Telegram channels, I don’t want to call the resources to which tens, hundreds of thousands of people are subscribed as garbage. But in fact, in relation to me, this is pure slander. Moreover, some kind of Internet site, I don’t even want to advertise, name the name, dollars for 500-1000, taken from the still acting customs officer (I know who ordered it, I don’t understand why, but I know who) posted some nonsense , someone rummaged in my flights at the border base, said that I was flying to Minsk, and that means I was flying to Moscow.
My wife is a citizen of Belarus, my beloved mother-in-law in Minsk, so I fly to Minsk 20 times a year. I have not been to Moscow for many, many years, 6-7 years. Therefore, we will understand. I will sue the publication, I will also sue the provider to remove this publication, I do not know these nuances, but I have already instructed the lawyers. A couple of days ago I wrote a statement to law enforcement agencies and asked my lawyer to write a request to the Border Service, how my personal data, my border crossings appeared on the Internet, and let the guys answer, let them explain it somehow
If our Border Service deals with such nonsense, they will answer. If our publications can simply take 500 or 1000 dollars from someone and write all sorts of nonsense … Listen, they have been writing about me this way for many years – I’m tired of it. We will sue, we will force people to refute their publications. In short, we will carry out a number of educational work.
You know, I am already suing the People’s Deputy Kholod. Taking this opportunity, I convey my regards to this comrade, and I want to say that I very much hope that soon his lawyers will get tired of coming to the Pechersk court and telling them that they are postponing the meeting in connection with the covid. The judge will make a legal decision, then we will figure out the legality of this decision in the appeal, and one of the parties will execute the court’s decision. I hope the MP will apologize.
Look, we are well aware that when such information campaigns take place, there is always a customer. And the customer is always some kind of force or a specific person who has interests, in this case at the same customs.
That is, who is the customer, relatively speaking, who do you suspect? Or is it some kind of group, I do not know there, inside the customs, or it is someone from a large business. Who is it?
Look, to me as a person from business and from the side of business, who understands how the fiscal system should work in principle, customs and tax, and what is happening there more or less realistically, I more or less understand, various political representatives periodically turn to me, bureaucratic circles with a question – what is happening there, they ask for some kind of consultation, etc. Objectively, if this is a confidential communication, then I try to help, tell, tell some program of unfortunately necessary resuscitation actions that are needed. Basically, I told you most of this program in our previous interviews. Yes, I have nothing else to do.
Who ordered …? Listen, well, I know who ordered, let it remain on the conscience of these unfortunate people. I am not angry, but I do not envy either. Well, the point is to understand some manifestations of the complexes of individual degenerates, sorry for my slang.
Ordered people who steal there specifically, who earn several million dollars a month, share their ephemeral with someone, refer to people whom they have not seen in their eyes and who have no moral right to refer, who have nothing to do with this ( on big people), and then when it turns out that they are doing this, they try to find the last one by posting a publication against someone.
Listen, stop tying already. It’s just a circus. You order a publication, do not order – your fate is unenviable.
Seyar, look, it follows from your words that smuggling as a phenomenon has not disappeared, despite the fact that we have “investment nannies” there and a lot of other things have appeared in connection with the course of the new government….
Disappeared, not disappeared … Listen, she blossomed with a wild color. Here, for example, two years ago, about 50 second-hand trucks called in Ukraine two years ago. And in September, according to my data, a little more than 300 cars stopped by. Do you know why?
Because with second-hand they began to import branded European clothes, new European clothes. And instead of there conditionally 30-40 thousand dollars of budget payments they pay 3-5 thousand dollars from the payment machine. This scheme alone optimizes tens of millions of dollars in tax revenues per month, which should be in our budget. Therefore, many more specific examples can be cited about Turkish clothes, which they also decided to systematize by import.
But there is a lot of smuggling, but it does not go to a higher level. Roughly speaking, according to my feelings, there is no global sanction for this, neither from Bankova, nor from the Cabinet. Well, at the level of the Ministry of Finance, as I understand it, there was a sanction for this, until they found out about it in some other offices and knocked on the hat, or how it turned out there, I don’t know.
That is, in fact, smuggling now at such an average level of bureaucracy turns out, where are these regional customs offices, or as they are called, they cut …
Look, there are regional customs offices, there is a central office at the level of department directors, at the level of the head of the service. Well, at some such levels, it exists. But there is no such sanction that the fish was rotting from the head and there the first persons give sanctions to double-bass something and bring them money – no. There is simply not enough control and not enough normal, transparent people with normal intentions at the average level.
How do you assess the level of smuggling in general this year?
Again, it has grown in volume. And we can see this objectively in terms of budget payments. And people do not disdain anything. Even this same scheme with a second-hand, it seems to be elementary, it’s just people who commit suicide. They should not do it this way, but they do it anyway, and are not afraid to be punished.
Although it is elementary to punish them: this power, next or after one, the statute of limitations is long, it will simply make inquiries, withdraw customs declarations and make a request for the adjacent territory, to the same Poles, to the Germans, they will say that new clothes were being tamed and exported. and second-hand drove to us. The damage to the budget is obvious, and right away the customs organized criminal group is under legal criminal prosecution.
Therefore, it is just pure madness that is happening. You can’t do that.
Well, how much do you estimate the total volume? Here is approximately.
Yura, I do not count other people’s money. I don’t estimate the total volume. I do not know. I can see just visually in some segments that the volume of goods without proper customs documents, roughly speaking, on store shelves, it has grown. Unfortunately I grew up.
But, of course, it was all dis-systematized in terms of control. This is really not given orders from Bankova and even from Grushevsky. Therefore, there is actually hope that this will end in some form. I hope so.
Good. Let’s consider one more block. This is a covid related question. Now the government is introducing new restrictions, and they will again affect a significant part of the business. And when we spoke in the spring, you pointed out that such a blow to the economy will begin in the summer, and this will be such a very serious threat. As far as we talked back then, you indicated that you have a restaurant business.
How do you think this new wave of restrictions will look like now compared to what it was in the spring? What expects the business in this regard and how justified such measures are.
Restrictions are needed because people die from covid. This is inevitable, and no one wants to, I am sure that the main part of the restaurateur community in no way wants to risk people’s lives. But the limits have to be smart. Today there are statistics, in contrast to how this situation differs from spring, that we already know what we are dealing with.
So, as many as 3% are infected with covid in catering establishments. Our restaurants are being closed, but they forgot to close the cinemas. God grant that they remember to close construction stores, yes. Therefore, we have many questions.
Well, if you do something, then do it fully. You either limit your opening hours further, until 20:00, until 18:00. I do not understand the logic of why it is impossible to get infected in a restaurant during the day, but in the evening you can. Well, ok, you there reduce the throughput and the number of infected among the segment in these 3%, which is ridiculous in fact. Funny segment.
Sorry, but where does the bulk get infected? How do you think?
I think it’s in transport. I don’t know, I need to look at the statistics. I watched it in the restaurant business. But the most important and most important idiocy is that restaurants are trying to close for the outside. That is, to break the production chain. Excuse me, what should my staff do with the leftover perishables on Friday? Feed our government breakfast on Monday morning ?! Well, what to do with these ?! You should really not finish off the business with your restrictions.
In fact, a complete lockdown with minimal support, with a moratorium on charging interest on real estate leased to restaurateurs, and, accordingly, for property owners to be subject to a moratorium in terms of collecting rent from restaurateurs, from closed restaurants, in fact, it is much less painful and the right measure if it is so important for us to close restaurants. But since no one thinks about it, we will adapt to the conditions that our valiant government creates for us. Well, in general, this is all idiocy.
Last question. See, in the logic of damage from these new restrictions. What do you think the damage will be? Since now a lot more people are sick, and most likely we have a peak in the incidence, or we have already come to this peak, because the count is already actually going to tens of thousands. I think that not 10 thousand, but in reality it is tens of thousands, 30, 40, 50 thousand. I’ll do it myself, let’s just say.
In this regard, how do you think, what damage will the Ukrainian economy incur in this regard in the logic of business?
Internal consumption is already at the bottom. It will still stagnate there, fall, it has practically nowhere to fall. There was money left on the single treasury account for a week or two. It is not clear what they will do next.
All this already threatens not an economic, but a major domestic political crisis. It all very much depends on how the OVDP sale sessions go. Everything very much depends on the IMF, to what extent we can reach an agreement politically with it.
And of course, now we are in such conditions that we already need to think about where to borrow, and how to do it so that later this money can be worked out and given away. It is now too late to patch up the holes that have formed in the boat called Ukraine in recent years. So that’s it.
Good. In this regard, how do you think the budget process will go? Now the budget is being formed. But from what you say, it is obvious that since you say that you see all these holes in the budget, then he …
I don’t know how it will go. This is a political issue. The only thing I want is to keep the budget realistic.
What is a realistic budget?
When the revenue part, which is included in the budget, corresponds to the reality, plus or minus what is really collected. And not as much as we wanted, we drew so much, and then we just don’t do it there by 20-30%, as it was in previous years.