In Ukraine’s latest anti-corruption drive, Ukrainian authorities have arrested billionaire Ihor Kolomo, who supported Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s 2019 presidential campaign, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) announced Saturday Ihor Kolomoisky.
Kolomoisky, the founder of Ukraine’s largest financial organization PrivatBank, was arrested on charges of fraud and money laundering, the SBU wrote in a statement.According to Ukrainian online newspaper Kiev Independent, He was ordered to remain under arrest until Oct. 31 on a HH509 million ($14 million) bail.
“It has been confirmed that between 2013 and 2020, Ihor Kolomoisky carried out more than 500 million Ukrainian hryvnias abroad while using infrastructure of controlled banking institutions, to legitimize it.”
The arrests come as Ukraine continues to clean up government corruption, a key prerequisite for the country’s entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU). Joining NATO has become a major goal for Zelensky, who is also running as an anti-corruption candidate during the Russian invasion that begins in February 2022.
Kolomoisky had drawn attention for his support of Zelensky during the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election.
According to a July 2010 Atlantic Council report, Zelensky appointed Kolomoisky’s personal lawyer as a campaign adviser, traveled abroad for discussions with oligarchs in exile at the time, and “benefited from the benefits of Kolomoisky’s media empire.” enthusiastic support”. The report of the US think tank pointed out that Zelensky was regarded as “Kolomoisky’s candidate”.
The Atlantic Council report also noted that describing the relationship as “the most important test of sincerity in achieving the de-oligarchization of Ukraine,” government officials seen as a threat to Kolomoiski’s interests, including investigations into his Prosecutors, have all been removed from Ukraine. Their position since Zelensky came to power.
“The risks posed by Kolomoisky’s apparent continued influence over Zelensky go beyond the quality of Ukraine’s democracy. It also calls into question the durability of the country’s economic reforms and fight against corruption,” the report said.
Despite those concerns, Zelensky’s government oversaw the oligarch’s arrest on Saturday. The Ukrainian president has denied allegations that Kolomoisky has influence over his government, Reuters reported on Saturday.Zelensky has yet to comment publicly on the arrest, and Weekly newspaper Email his office for comment.
US Sanctions Kolomoiski for ‘Serious Corruption’
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced sanctions against Kolomoiski in March 2021 on charges of “substantial corruption.”
“In 2014-2015, in his official capacity as Governor of the Dnepropetrovsk Oblast of Ukraine, [Kolomoisky] Engaging in corrupt practices that undermine the rule of law and the Ukrainian public’s confidence in their government’s democratic institutions and public processes, including using their political influence and official power for personal gain.While this designation is based on his conduct during his tenure, I also want to raise concerns about [Kolomoisky’s] The current and ongoing efforts to undermine Ukraine’s democratic processes and institutions pose a serious threat to its future,” he wrote.
Authorities searched his home in February in conjunction with separate investigations into alleged graft and tax evasion, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, Privatbank was nationalized in 2016 as the government sought to overhaul the country’s banking system.
According to Reuters, Kolomoisky is one of the oligarchs who became rich after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.