Newly-appointed Ukrainian Finance Minister Oleksandr Danyliuk attends a parliament session in Kiev, Ukraine, April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko(reuters_tickers)
KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's Finance Minister Oleksandr Danyliuk, who has come under fire over alleged offshore assets, apologised on Thursday for failing to declare that he was director of two firms in Cyprus and one in the Cayman Islands while in public office.
In Ukraine, there is growing public interest in overseas assets, after the 'Panama Papers' revealed that President Petro Poroshenko placed his business assets in an offshore account, forcing him to deny accusations of tax evasion.
Danyliuk is a figure of especial interest due to his leading role in managing Ukraine's war-torn finances in a new government which critics say lacks the will to root out widespread corruption.
Officials are not meant to conduct business while in office and Danyliuk said he did not realise he was still, in name, the director of the three offshore companies after he returned to live in Ukraine in 2010.
"I will make the changes in my declarations and want to apologise to the public - all these facts should have been correctly declared by me the first time around," he said in a post on Facebook.
He said the mistake had not led to a conflict of interest as it had arisen from a failure by his former business partners and lawyers to formalise his decision to quit as director before he assumed public duties in Ukraine.
He said it was important he publicly confessed to the errors in the documents to avoid giving opponents "a means to put pressure on me or let them put spokes in the wheels of important reforms", and to serve as "an example of openness to others".
Some Ukrainian lawmakers such as Radical party leader Oleh Lyashko have said Danyliuk's connection to offshore companies disqualifies him from his job.
In 2015 Danyliuk declared annual income of 177,985 hryvnia (£4,900), most of which he said came from his salary as deputy head of Poroshenko's administration.
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Dominic Evans)