(adds more quotes, background)
By Marc Jones
LONDON, March 3 Ukraine's former Prime Minister
Arseny Yatseniuk said on Friday he had turned down an
opportunity to become the country's next central bank governor,
adding he believed the post should be filled with a professional
banker or economist.
The country's current central bank chief, Valeriia
Gontareva, suggested on Thursday she may not stay in her post
for much longer.
Having headed the bank since mid-2014, Gontareva has
overseen a clean-up of the banking sector and the floating of
the hryvina, but also faced repeated calls from members of
parliament to be sacked.
Speaking during a visit to London, Yatseniuk told an
audience at Chatham House that he had "refused" the post of
central bank governor.
"I do believe that the best option for another central bank
governor is to have a professional banker or professional
economist with no political affiliation at all - it is
unacceptable to have a politically affiliated central bank
governor," he said.
Yatseniuk was acting governor of the central bank in 2004
and his name had been mentioned as a possible successor to
Gontareva. He did not say who had offered him the post or when.
"There are a number of quite prominent folks in Ukraine, for
example the CEO of Raiffeisen Aval, he is a very good guy,"
Yatseniuk added, in comments that he cleared for publication
after the conference.
Raiffeisen Bank Aval - the Ukrainian unit of Austria's
Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) - has been headed
by Volodymyr Lavrenchuk since 2005.
Ukraine and Russia are involved in an ongoing court case in
London over a $3 billion eurobond that Kiev sold to Moscow in
the dying days of the Russia-backed Viktor Yanukovich
Yatseniuk said he believed Ukraine had sufficient grounds
for victory, but added that defeat could have "a dramatic
implication for the fiscal position and for the financial
stability in my country - period."
The English court, which held hearings on the case earlier
in January, has yet to rule.
Ukraine is also waiting anxiously to see if it will retain
the support of the United States against Russia following the
election of Donald Trump as president.
Yatseniuk, who resigned as prime minister last April, was
appointed after the "Maidan" street uprising that ousted
His popularity declined, partly due to public perceptions
that his government did too little to hold powerful oligarchs to
account, but he remains respected by foreign investors.
(Reporting by Marc Jones, writing by Karin Strohecker; Editing
by Toby Davis)