Ex-NBU Head's House Reportedly Burned Down
17 September, 2019

The ex-head of the National Bank of Ukraine, Valeria Gontareva, says that her house near Kyiv burned down after a Molotov cocktail attack. This is the third reported incident related to Gontareva in less than a month. Earlier in September, Gontareva's daughter-in law's car was burned in Kyiv. And weeks earlier, at the end of August, former NBU head claimed she was hit by a car in London.

"Our house near Kyiv in the village of Horenychi has just been burned down. They threw a Molotov cocktail through the fence. The house completely burned out," Gontareva told Interfax-Ukraine news agency on September 17. "Firefighters could not even put it out. This is a complete and final outrage! I don't know where to turn, the terror continues!!!" 

According to Gontareva, the incident happened on the night of September 17. The National Police's Kyiv region department is considering arson as a possible reason the house burned down. However, its spokesperson says, other factors could have contributed, such as careless handling of fire or short circuit.

"We haven't started criminal proceedings yet. An investigative team is working at the site. We're clarifying details," spokesperson Mykola Zhukovych said.

Both, the Office of the President of Ukraine and the interior minister have shortly condemned the September 17 attack.

"The fire in the house of the former NBU governor is a brutal crime, the fast resolve of which should become a priority for the work of the law enforcement bodies," the statement on the official Telegram messenger channel of the office read. "The head of the state is waiting for the resolution of this provocation to be done as soon as possible."

While the Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov said that the police is investigating the case and will do "everything possible in its search for the perpetrator." 

"[It's an] unacceptable manifestation of criminal pressure. Whoever ordered and executed this during the International Monetary Fund​'s visit to Ukraine is not only an arsonist, but an enemy who harms their state," Avakov wrote on Twitter.

The news of a possible arson comes less than two weeks after September 5, when Novoe Vremya news site reported that the car of Gontareva's daughter-in-law (who shares the same first and last name with the former NBU head) was doused with petrol and set on fire in the center of Kyiv. 

On August 30, Gontareva – who now lives and works in London and claims she "constantly receives threats" from oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky – told Hromadske that she was hit by a car in central London on August 26. In her comment to Hromadske, Gontareva did not rule out that the alleged hit-and-run was done at the hands of Kolomoisky, with whom the former NBU governor has been in conflict since the nationalization of Ukraine's largest bank PrivatBank, a former asset of Kolomoisky.

Gontareva told Novoe Vremya that she considers the September 5 arson to be linked to the London hit-and-run. In a June interview to Hromadske, Gontareva stated that she had been receiving threats from Kolomoisky. 

READ MORE: Former NBU Head Gontareva on Threats from Kolomoisky and PrivatBank Nationalization

However, Kolomoisky himself brushes off these allegations.

"[She's] making things up and trying to seem like a heroine," Kolomoisky reacted to Gontareva's claims in a July interview with Novoe Vremya. "She didn't get scared and she's not afraid of anything... Where did you see a person that's under threat publicly giving interviews, especially to leading publications? She can sleep tight."