OREANDA-NEWS. On May 19, 2008 The Cabinet of Ministers has postponed a tender to privatize the Odesa Portside Plant until an unknown date. Acting Head of the State Property Fund Andriy Portnov earlier set the tender for May 20. The government took the decision to postpone the auction during its meeting on Monday, Ukrainian First Vice Premier Oleksandr Turchynov said, reported the Official website www.kmu.gov.ua.

He noted that the government had taken such a decision under the pressure of President Viktor Yushchenko.

National Security and Defense Council Secretary Raisa Bohatyriova said that a tender to privatize the Odesa Portside Plant would not take place soon, as there were no legal grounds for it.

According to Portnov, three companies, in particular, Nitrofert of Estonia, EuroChem of Russia and Nortima of Ukraine, were ready to purchase the plant.

Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko told Yushchenko on Monday, May 19, that the Prosecutor General's Office had opened a criminal case against Portnov concerning his attempt to illegally privatize the Odesa Portside Plant. An investigation group, involving workers from the Security Service of Ukraine and the Prosecutor General's Office, has been created and a prejudicial inquiry has been launched, Medvedko said.

The PGO also opened a criminal case against individuals of the State Treasure of Ukraine due to violation of their duties. The issue is about the treasury suspending the financing of the State Property Fund.

UKRINFORM earlier reported that the starting price of a 99,52% stake of OJSC Odesa Portside Plant was UAH 3 billion (USD 1/UAH 5,05).