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Monday, March 16, 2009

Boy, 12, Dies of Cancer As Bank Wouldn’t Give Money Back

Imagine your son or nephew is dying of cancer, but your bank will not let you withdraw your money to give him a chance.

Welcome to Ukraine!

Oleksiy Holub, 12, had a facial tumor. He lived in Donetsk. To put him in a foreign clinic, his mom started pooling resources immediately. She borrowed from every friend, relative and coworker she could.

Oleksiy's aunt had Hr. 32,000 (approximately $4,000) on deposit at Pryvatbank. She wanted to use her savings to save Oleksiy.

Prvyatbank wouldn’t let her.

They wouldn't let her withdraw the money, citing a freeze on cash withdrawals ordered by the National Bank of Ukraine.

As a result, Oleksiy stayed in a Donetsk hospital, where they pumped him with chemo, which destroyed his already weak immune system. He kept saying, “Mom, I’m so scared.” And then he died. Soon, his grandma died, too.

His aunt is suing Pryvatbank for Hr. 100,000 (approximately $12,000) for infliction of emotional distress. Pryvtbank says the woman failed to properly formulate her petition for cash withdrawal.

If she wins, she plans to donate the money to kids with cancer.

I just wonder if the same story would happen to any of the royal kids. I wonder if Yushchenko, a former governor of the National Bank, would be unable to withdraw money from his bank.

Oh, silly me. Ukrainian politicians keep their money in foreign banks and heal their bodies in foreign clinics. They don't want to end up like Oleksiy.

Ihor Kolomoisky, Ukraine’s third-richest man and Pryvatbank’s co-owner, lives in Switzerland.

Meanwhile, something is killing this country.



John Kalitka said...

A very sad, and perhaps preventable, story Taras. I pray that the boy rests in peace. Are there no exceptions to the NBU freeze on all such assets?

Gabriela said...

Are these guys heartless, or what?
I'll pray for Oleksiy and for his family. My father and brother died of cancer, and there simply is not human to let a 12 year old boy to die like this.
As if his mother was asking for other people's money!

Michelle said...

This is a sad story.

I used to spend time in Kyiv's Children's Cancer hospital and met many parents who literally would beg everyone who came for money for treatment for their children.

It was truly heartbreaking. I can only imagine the frustration of having money and then not even being able to get it out of the bank.

Taras said...


I haven’t heard of any exceptions.

All I know is the NBU funneled billions of hryvnias into banks (without demanding equity stakes), helped them bet against the hryvnia and then sent their customers home empty-handed.

Later, the bank that received the biggest chunk of the bailout package let its customers stand in line for a few hours to withdraw no more than 100 hryvnias per day.

They don’t care if it's a senior citizen or a kid who’s literally dying to get their savings back.

Our banking system makes for a case study on how special interests destroy customer service and social responsibility in embryo.


Not only are they heartless, but they are also brainless. What kind of customers do they hope to create?

My father had cancer a decade ago. Luckily, we had enough cash on hand to pay for his surgery. After being swindled out of a few hundred dollars in the early ‘90s (a few thousand dollars in today’s terms), we kept our savings at home.


You’ve seen a lot. You know how things are. I’ve been to an adult cancer center a few times. It’s a hopeless place. It hurts to look people in the eyes.

Oleksiy’s is a story of a sociopolitical cancer, one that is killing Ukraine.

Anonymous said...

Should I wonder whether the bank manager has been able to access his/her savings?

Taras said...

I don't know about the bank manager, but the bank co-owner, Mr. Kolomoisky, sure can access his savings in banks outside Ukraine.