Sunday, November 27, 2022

Five things to know about Natalie Jaresko

By on March 30, 2017

United States Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew, left, and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, center, Ukraine's Minister of Finance Natalie Jaresko shake hands after a joint media conference in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

United States Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew, left, and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, center, Ukraine’s Minister of Finance Natalie Jaresko shake hands after a joint media conference in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

SAN JUAN – The $625,000 annual salary isn’t the only thing that has raised eyebrows concerning the recently appointed executive director of the Financial Oversight & Management Board, Natalie Jaresko, who was born in Chicago to Ukrainian parents.

Here’s a look at five curious facts about the executive director of the board that will lead the restructuring of Puerto Rico’s $70 billion debt, as well as its fiscal path toward regaining market access.

1. She was nicknamed Ukraine’s “hero minister”

As Ukraine’s finance minister, Jaresko was nicknamed the “hero minister” after she achieved cutting the country’s debt by 20%, which resulted in $11.5 billion in savings, according to reports.

One of the affected creditors was Franklin Templeton, which has an institutional fund that currently includes Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corp. (Cofina by its Spanish acronym), general obligation (GO), Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) and Public Buildings Authority bonds.

She served as minister in Ukraine from 2014 until 2016, shortly after Euromaidan, a series of demonstrations and protests in 2013 to promote agreements with the European Union and turn their backs on Russia. At its climax, protesters demanded the impeachment of pro-Russia President Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych, who was removed from power in early 2014.

Under President Petro Poroshenko‘s administration, Jaresko was key in establishing Ukraine’s new relationship with Europe and the United States. 

2. She was looking for a job

In a January interview with political analyst David Axelrod (The Axe File), Jaresko told him she was looking for a job because she was only presiding the Aspen Institute Syndicate Board in Kiev, Ukraine, and in the Atlantic Council. 

3. She earned $200 a month

As Ukraine’s finance minister, Jaresko told Axelrod—who was President Obama‘s chief campaign strategist—that her salary was about $200 a month, which affected her savings. Now, as the Puerto Rico fiscal board’s executive director, her monthly salary is $52,083, plus moving expenses when she comes to the island with her daughter after she finishes her school year, as well as escort, chauffeur and travel expenses to visit Ukraine. 

4. She will earn more than other board directors

Compared with directors of other U.S. fiscal boards, Jaresko is at the top of the list in terms of salary. In Washington, D.C., the fiscal board director earned $155,000 annually, which incensed Mayor Marion Barry, who denounced that 30 members of that entity earned more than $100,000, as reported by the Washington Post.

Moreover, Detroit’s emergency manager, which exercised powers similar to the island’s fiscal board, earned $275,000 annually, which also drew criticism

5. Earnings questioned

According to a report by independent investigative magazine Consortiumnews, Jaresko made $1.77 million in 2013 through an investment fund financed by U.S. taxpayers called Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF).

From there, she was constantly in touch with the International Development Agency (AID), which provided the $150 million fund that promoted small and midsize Ukrainian entrepreneurs. She allegedly made investments in which taxpayer money was risked, but received some of the earnings when successful.

The relationship with AID, which continued from Horizon Capital, a private firm to manage funds in Ukraine that she co-founded, was the subject of conspiracy theories regarding the establishment of the new Ukrainian government as a western plan to undermine Russian influence in the country, according to Bloomberg reporting.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login