Ihor Kolomoyskiy, a powerful businessman who was detained after being identified as a suspect in a fraud and money-laundering investigation, was given a bail requirement of about $14 million by a Ukrainian court in Kyiv, Ukraine. This action by the government of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy appears to signify a stronger commitment to responding to Western concerns about fighting alleged corruption.
The Ukrainian Court has determined that Ihor Kolomoyskiy should be held in pretrial prison for a minimum of two months if he is unable to satisfy the bail conditions.
On television footage, Kolomoyskiy was seen being led away while wearing a tracksuit jacket.
Supposedly, at Kolomoyskiy’s request, the hearing was held behind closed doors.
“Under the procedural guidance of the Prosecutor-General’s Office, the [SBU State Security Service] and the Economic Security Bureau of Ukraine notified the well-known oligarch of suspicion of legalizing fraudulently obtained property,” the Prosecutor-General’s Office stated in a statement.
Zelenskiy thanked law enforcement on September 2 for concluding current cases satisfactorily without specifically addressing Kolomoyskiy.
In his daily video address, Zelenskiy said:
“I thank Ukrainian law enforcement officials for their resolve in bringing to a just outcome each and every one of the cases that have been hindered for decades,”
Ihor Kolomoyskiy, a millionaire who built his wealth by purchasing former state-owned properties in the 1990s, has come under fire from critics who claim he used aggressive business strategies like sending armed personnel to grab control of companies.
He has owned banking institutions, energy firms, and a number of organizations, including a renowned Ukrainian television network that backed Zelenskiy’s 2019 presidential campaign. Zelenskiy, who previously worked as an actor and comedian, also had a TV show on this network.
The United States allegedly accused Ihor Kolomoyskiy of spending hundreds of millions of dollars to buy commercial real estate in the United States and began civil forfeiture proceedings against him in 2020. Following a request by the U.S. government, these proceedings were temporarily suspended to avoid exposing witnesses in a separate criminal case being brought against the wealthy businessman.
Kolomoyskiy and his family were denied entry to the United States by the State Department in 2021 because of allegations of his involvement in corrupt practices while serving as the governor of the Dnipro region from 2014 to 2015. This action by the U.S. was seen as a signal to Kyiv to look into Kolomoyskiy’s financial malfeasance and corrupt activities.
In February, SBU and Bureau of Economic Security agents searched Kolomoyskiy’s and former interior minister Arsen Avakov’s homes as part of a separate investigation into an alleged misappropriation of more than $1 billion. These efforts appeared to be part of a campaign to fight corruption while addressing the Russian invasion.
Any claims of misbehavior have been denied by the millionaire. Zelenskiy is alleged to have had his Ukrainian citizenship removed within the past year, but neither party has provided an official denial.
If the alleged loss of Ukrainian citizenship is true, it may present Ukraine with a chance to extradite Kolomoyskiy to the United States in the event that the Department of Justice brings money laundering charges against him. It’s vital to know that Ukraine often refuses to extradite its own citizens.
The bail request of approximately $14 million closely aligns with the sum that the SBU accused Kolomoyskiy of taking out of the country.
“It was established that during 2013-20, Ihor Kolomoyskiy legalized more than half-a-billion hryvnyas (about $14 million) by withdrawing them abroad and using the infrastructure of banks under [his] control,” the SBU said in a statement.
Despite receiving criticism throughout the battle from his Western backers, Zelenskiy has vowed to fight corruption, especially among the wealthy oligarchs of the nation.
Kolomoysky’s supporters claim that Zelenskiy is showing the West that he is obedient to their concerns regarding alleged corruption by taking action against the businessman.
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