| 2 October 2023, Monday |

Ukraine names powerful businessman Kolomoisky suspect in fraud probe

Ihor Kolomoisky, a prominent businessman, has been listed as a suspect in a fraud and money laundering case by Ukrainian national security officials, the SBU security service reported on Saturday.

As Ukraine fights Russia’s 18-month invasion, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has prioritized combating corruption. Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine’s richest men, is the most notable individual to have come under scrutiny.

Zelenskiy, who rose to prominence as a comedian and played the role of president on a show aired on a Kolomoisky-owned TV channel, has denied having personal ties to the businessman.

“It was established that during 2013-2020, Ihor Kolomoisky legalized more than half a billion hryvnias ($14 million) by withdrawing them abroad and using the infrastructure of the controlled banks,” the SBU said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.

Kolomoisky could not be reached for comment.

The security service published pictures of a group of detectives at the door of his home, with Kolomoisky receiving and signing documents.

Kolomoisky is a former owner of leading Ukrainian bank PrivatBank, which was nationalised in late 2016 as part of a major clean-up of the country’s banking system.

Earlier this year security officials searched Kolomoisky’s home in connection with a separate investigation into embezzlement and tax evasion at the country’s two largest oil companies that were partially owned by the businessman.

Kolomoisky owned an array of assets in the energy, banking, and other sector, including one of Ukraine’s most influential television channels.

The United States sanctioned Kolomoisky in 2021 “due to his involvement in significant corruption”. U.S. authorities have also alleged Kolomoiskiy and a business partner laundered stolen funds through the United States. Kolomoiskiy has denied any wrongdoing.

  • Reuters