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Exit of Banks’ Troubled Borrowers from Country is Illegal

INTERFAX-UKRAINE Kyiv. October 21.  

Provision of information to border service by the banks to restrict exit of the banks’ troubled borrowers from the country shall be considered as contradiction to the Constitution of Ukraine and Law on Entry and Exit of Citizens of Ukrainian to/from Ukraine, such opinion was expressed by Lesya Kovtun, attorney at law of Volkov Koziakov and Partners to Interfax-Ukraine agency.
She said that any similar acts of state authorities and other parties could be considered as an infringement of the right of citizens for freedom of movement guaranteed by Article 33 of the Constitution, including the right to exit the territory of Ukraine freely.
Thereupon L. Kovtun mentioned that Art. 6 of the Law on the Procedure of Entry and Exit of Citizens of Ukrainian to/from Ukraine, provides for temporary confiscation of the national passport until proceedings will be completed, even in case if a civil suit has been filed against the citizen. Yet, according to her, the law does not stipulate types of those lawsuits.
According to the attorney, should this provision of the law be interpreted literally, all respondents at any civil suits would be obliged to hand their passports over for pendency period. Moreover, enforcement of this provision to loan collection suits only will contradict to Art. 19 of the Constitution, stipulating that all state authorities shall act according to the law, while this law does not prescribe precise procedure for setting such prohibition.
L. Kovtun further emphasized that money debt payment was not personal responsibility of the borrower (as for example military service was) and could be done outside Ukraine also, or by proxies of the borrower and it should be only special circumstances of the case that might serve as a basis for application of this measure as prohibition of exit.
The Attorney at law noted that according to procedural legislation measures of enforcement might be applied subject to specific performance of court decision, and they were applied in case of a possibility that the decision would not be fulfilled.
‘Furthermore, such measure puts borrowers on an unequal footing comparing to other respondents in civil proceedings, and that is another infringement of Art. 22 of the Constitution that guarantees equal protection of the law for all and any’, concluded L.Kovtun.
It was reported that NBU informed in its letter to the banks (№18-312/4255-18700), that the Law on the Procedure of Entry and Exit of Citizens of Ukrainian to/from Ukraine and Rules for Crossing the State Border provide for the possibility of temporary refusal for citizens to exit the country, in case there is any lawsuit filed against them.
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