Shevchenko court in Kyiv arrested a businessman Igor Kolomoisky with the possibility of making a pledge of UAH 509 million ($13.7 million), reports “Strana.ua”. The term of arrest is until October 31.
Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) presented Kolomoisky suspicions under Art. 190 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (“Fraud”) and Art. 209 (“Legalization (laundering) of property obtained by criminal means”). The maximum punishment for each of them is 12 years in prison with confiscation of property.
According to investigators, in 2013-2020, the businessman legalized over UAH 500 million by taking them abroad through banks controlled by him.
Vedomosti.Ru, 09/04/2023, “What does the arrest of billionaire Kolomoisky mean in Ukraine”: According to a report by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) dated September 2, he is charged with the illegal transfer of more than 500 million hryvnia abroad in 2013-2020. The case is qualified under articles on fraud and legalization of property obtained by criminal means. […] President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky reacted to the arrest of Kolomoisky in his Telegram channel: “There will be no more years of “business as usual” for those who robbed Ukraine.”
On the evening of September 3, Advisor to the Office of the President of the country Sergei Leshenko published materials, according to which Kolomoisky has the citizenship of Israel and Cyprus, and he has already been deprived of Ukrainian citizenship. At the same time, at the meeting of the Shevchenko court, the businessman was nevertheless called a “citizen of Ukraine.” Earlier, information about the deprivation of Kolomoisky Ukrainian citizenship appeared only in local media and in the materials of the Verkhovna Rada deputy Serhiy Vlasenko, who published a scan of the corresponding presidential decree. This information has not been officially confirmed. — Inset K.ru
The trial for choosing a preventive measure was held behind closed doors, before the meeting, Kolomoisky said that he absolutely disagreed with the charges. His lawyer Oleksandr Lysak later said that the businessman would not pay bail, but was going to file an appeal against the court decision, Strana reports.
Forbes estimates Kolomoisky’s fortune of $1 billion. The businessman is the founder of Privatbank, nationalized in 2016, and he was also the largest shareholder of an oil refinery company “Ukrtatnafta” and oil and gas “Ukrnafta”, which were also nationalized. In 2014-2015, Kolomoisky was the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region.
Forbes.ru, 09/02/2023, “A court in Kyiv arrested businessman Igor Kolomoisky”: The meeting was held behind closed doors, the businessman’s defense petitioned for this. Kolomoisky himself, when asked if he agreed with the accusation, said: “Well, of course not. Absolutely”. — Inset K.ru
In February this year, Kolomoisky was searched. According to “Country”, they were connected with the fraud case in Ukrtatnafta and Ukrnafta. As a result of the searches, the SBU stated that it “exposed large-scale schemes for embezzlement of UAH 40 billion by the former management” of oil and gas enterprises. There are ten episodes in this case, in particular, the withdrawal of large consignments of oil products to affiliated companies, tax evasion and the creation of bad debts from factories.
Kolomoisky has previously faced searches due to cases related to these companies – for example, in September 2022, they took place as part of an investigation into the misappropriation of Ukrnafta funds.
Criminal case against Kolomoisky established in Russia. According to the domestic investigation, the businessman, together with his partner Gennady Bogolyubov, the head of the DCH investment group, Alexander Yaroslavsky, and the chairman of the board of Ukrtatnafta, Pavel Ovcharenko, organized a “criminal community” that appropriated more than 800 thousand tons of oil for a total amount of more than $ 400 million supplied by Tatneft. In this case, Kolomoisky in November last year was arrested in absentia.
The Insider, 09/02/2023, “Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky arrested by court order”: In March 2021 USA introduced against the Ukrainian oligarch and his family sanctions on charges of corruption in the post of governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine. Kolomoisky, as well as his wife, daughter and son, were banned from entering the United States. Then US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken accused the oligarch of trying to undermine the democratic processes and institutions of Ukraine, “which pose a serious threat to the future” of the country.
The U.S. Federal Grand Jury also investigated laundering by Kolomoisky “hundreds of millions of dollars”. 2017 London High Court seized assets former owners of the Ukrainian Privatbank, including Kolomoisky, around the world. Oligarch, according to the financial structure itself, which was nationalized in 2016 by decree of the then President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, withdrew more than $2.5 billion from it, including interest. — Inset K.ru
What does the Kolomoisky case mean?
The case of Igor Kolomoisky, who was sent to prison yesterday for 60 days with the possibility of making a bail of 509 million hryvnias, caused a great resonance. Including because it was Kolomoisky who at one time did, perhaps, the most for Zelensky to become president. And for a long time he was considered his close partner, having received a large quota in the Servant of the People faction and access to the leadership of a number of state-owned enterprises.
What does his case mean? Main conclusions.
1. The case concerns the withdrawal of money from Privatbank through loans to Kolomoisky-related companies, as well as fraud in Ukrnafta, 40% of whose shares belonged to Kolomoisky-related companies until the end of last year. According to the articles, Kolomoisky faces up to 12 years in prison if found guilty. Kolomoisky himself does not agree with the accusations.
2. Kolomoisky’s lawyers have already stated that they will not pay bail, but will seek an appeal. Does Kolomoisky have that kind of bail money? The question is not easy. The money of the oligarch himself and his partner Bogolyubov was frozen by the decision of the British court, and Kolomoisky’s acquaintances who are able to pay bail for him (for example – Tigipko), may fear the impact of US sanctions against the oligarch. Sources close to Kolomoisky, with whom Strana spoke, say that even if he had enough funds right now to pay bail, he would not do this without trying to “knock down” the amount in the appeal. “It’s not in his rules to pay as much as he was told at once,” the source says.
3. There are several reasons why the criminal case against Kolomoisky was started. The first and probably the main one is an attempt to get ahead of NABU, which is also investigating the case against the oligarch. Not so long ago, Kolomoisky was already under interrogation at the NABU and, according to rumors, the next week (tentatively on September 7) the detectives of the Bureau were supposed to hand him a suspicion. Thus, the president, through the BEB and SBU under his control, decided to get ahead of the NABU patronized by Western structures and send Kolomoisky to prison first. Which, on the one hand, gave Zelensky the opportunity to launch a major PR campaign on the topic that it was he who was leading the fight against corruption. And, on the other hand, it will allow Kolomoisky to continue to be “on the hook”, increasing his dependence on Bankova, not allowing him to be put on the same “hook” earlier by NABU and the Americans, who could use this, among other things, to get from Kolomoisky’s testimony regarding his connections with the president and his entourage.
4. The second reason is relations with the United States, where Kolomoisky has long been considered the center of corruption in Ukraine and they demand that Kyiv deal with him. This is also superimposed on Bankova’s difficult relationship with NABU, which may seriously escalate in the near future due to the president’s intentions to equate corruption with treason and provide an opportunity to investigate major corruption cases of the SBU, which was sharply opposed by NABU and SAPO, whose leaders have already gone for consultations on about this in the USA. By sending Kolomoisky to prison, the president, as it were, shows the Americans that the SBU can fight corruption no worse than NABU. Also in this way, Zelensky wants to strengthen his position in the negotiations in the United States, where he will visit in September.
5. Regarding the impact of Kolomoisky’s arrest on the political landscape in the country. In particular, on the policy of his TV channel 1+1 and other media. The impact will be minimal. Kolomoisky has been on Zelensky’s hook before, and 1 + 1, according to people’s deputy Victoria Syumar, has been largely funded from the state budget since the beginning of the war. Accordingly, the editorial policy of Kolomoisky’s media was very loyal to the president. Therefore, from the fact that Kolomoisky was put on the hook even more tightly, nothing will fundamentally change. True, if Kolomoisky had some secret thoughts to still play his political game not on the side of Zelensky (for example, in the event of the start of an election campaign), then these plans will have to be forgotten for now.