Ukraine's new prime minister said on Thursday loans worth $37 billion had gone missing from state coffers during ousted President Viktor Yanukovich's rule, and warned that unpopular measures were needed to salvage the economy.
With the hryvnia currency in freefall and concerns about the low level of foreign currency reserves growing, Arseny Yatseniuk said the country urgently needed loans from the International Monetary Fund, which is visiting Kiev next week.
The scale of alleged theft implied by Yatseniuk in a speech to parliament was jaw-dropping, even for a population now used to tales of Yanukovich's extravagance and lavish lifestyle, including his luxury residence outside Kiev.
The average salary in Ukraine is around $500 a month.
In addition to the missing $37 billion, Yatseniuk said as much as $70 billion had been sent out of the country during Yanukovich's three-year rule, although he did not make clear how much of this capital flight was illegal.