In a recent development out of Kiev, a court has made a significant declaration regarding Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, who is currently categorized as an extremist and terrorist in Russia. The court has ruled that Kolomoisky is now a citizen of Israel, a decision that has raised eyebrows given his prior official recognition as a Ukrainian citizen. Despite this ruling, Oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky’s legal representative insists that he still maintains his Ukrainian citizenship.
Kolomoisky’s legal troubles have escalated in recent times. He was apprehended on September 2nd on charges of fraud and money laundering brought forth by the Security Service of Ukraine. Once a prominent figure as the owner of Ukraine’s wealthiest bank and a prominent television station, Kolomoisky’s influence has markedly waned in the past few years.
Charges and Investigations Against Oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky
Oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, who is believed to hold both Israeli and Cypriot passports, has come under scrutiny due to allegations of embezzling approximately $160 million. This investigation unfolded while he was in custody at a pretrial detention center in Kyiv. Earlier this month, the Security Service of Ukraine publicly disclosed its probe into Kolomoisky for suspected fraud and money laundering totaling over $14 million between 2013 and 2020. Although he has not been formally charged, the Ukrainian legal system permits the detention of a suspect during the ongoing investigative process.
A court in Kyiv has decided to raise Kolomoisky’s bail to $10.5 million after he declined to post a $1.4 million bail, asserting that the case against him is unjust. If found guilty in the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) case, Kolomoisky could potentially face a prison sentence of up to 12 years.
Kolomoisky’s Fall From Grace
Once a formidable figure in the realms of oil, banking, and media, Kolomoisky possessed a staggering net worth of $2 billion. He was widely recognized as a prominent supporter with significant sway over Volodymyr Zelensky, the former comedian who assumed the presidency. Kolomoisky played a pivotal role in Zelensky’s successful bid for the presidency in 2019, thwarting Petro Poroshenko’s attempt at securing a second term. However, his perceived proximity to the president may have amplified the pressure on governmental authorities to hold him accountable.
In 2016, government officials uncovered a sizable discrepancy of $5.5 billion on PrivatBank’s financial statements. They levied accusations of embezzlement against Kolomoisky, his business associate Hennadiy Boholiubov, and several high-ranking deputies. As a response, the government took control of the bank and nationalized it, subsequently initiating legal proceedings to recover the allegedly misappropriated funds.
International Legal Pressure and Sanctions
Over time, Kolomoisky has encountered increasing international legal scrutiny and punitive measures. In 2017, a court in London issued a global freeze on approximately $2.5 billion worth of assets belonging to Kolomoisky and his associate Boholiubov in relation to the PrivatBank case. In 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice initiated legal proceedings to seize properties owned by these two individuals in Florida, Texas, and Ohio, alleging that these assets were obtained through the misappropriation of funds from PrivatBank.
In 2021, the United States implemented sanctions against Kolomoisky and his family members under a U.S. law designed to penalize foreign officials engaged in human rights abuses and corrupt activities. The following year, Ukrainian President Zelensky revoked Kolomoisky’s Ukrainian citizenship, citing the ongoing criminal investigation by U.S. authorities.