Ukrainian billionaire detained amid anti-corruption efforts

Ihor Kolomoisky

KYIV: Ukraine’s prominent oligarch, Ihor Kolomoisky, will be held in custody for two months over allegations of fraud and money laundering.

According to BBC News, he is accused of transferring $14 million abroad over seven years using banks under his control. Kolomoisky’s legal team stated he won’t post bail and will appeal the court’s decision.

This development is part of Ukraine’s ongoing anti-corruption efforts, which have targeted various high-profile figures. Kolomoisky was seen being taken from a Kyiv district court in a blue FC Dnipro tracksuit jacket and is currently held at Ukraine’s security service (SBU) headquarters in Kyiv.

The authorities revealed that Kolomoisky allegedly legalized over half a billion hryvnias ($14 million) from 2013 to 2020 by transferring funds abroad through banks under his control.

President Volodymyr Zelensky, in an evening address, hinted at the case and emphasized that there would be no return to “business as usual for those who plundered Ukraine and put themselves above the law.” He underlined his commitment to combating corruption, a top priority since his election in 2019, and highlighted Ukraine’s efforts to address corruption as a crucial step toward integration with Western institutions like the European Union.

This is not the first legal action against Kolomoisky. Earlier in the year, his residence in Dnipro was raided as part of a separate investigation into embezzlement and tax evasion involving Ukraine’s two largest partially-owned oil companies. In 2021, the US imposed sanctions on him for alleged “significant corruption” during his tenure as governor of Dnipropetrovsk region, although he denies any wrongdoing.

Kolomoisky, a wealthy businessman with interests in Ukrainian media, oil, and banking, notably supported President Zelensky’s political career, starting with the TV series “Servant of the People.” Despite allegations of influence, Zelensky has repeatedly denied any undue influence from Kolomoisky.

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