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Ukraine launches criminal case against oligarch Kolomoisky

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Ukraine’s security services have formally presented one of the country’s most controversial tycoons with fraud and money laundering charges, as Kyiv renews its efforts to crack down on corruption.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the country’s SBU agency said it had presented Ihor Kolomoisky with a “notice of suspicion” in the criminal case.

“It was established that between 2013 and 2020, Kolomoisky legalized more than half a billion Ukrainian hryvnia [around $13.5 million] by moving it abroad using the infrastructure of controlled banking institutions,” the agency’s press service said. A pretrial investigation is ongoing, officials added.

The Ukrainian-born Israeli-Cypriot national is the co-founder of PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest financial insitution, which was taken into state ownership in 2016 after regulators discovered $5 billion in missing assets. According to Forbes, Kolomoisky is worth an estimated $1 billion.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had previously received support for his winning 2019 presidential campaign from Kolomoisky, who controlled a sizeable media empire that often promoted the political newcomer.

“Unsurprisingly, many viewed Zelenskyy as Kolomoisky’s candidate,” American think tank the Atlantic Council reported in 2021, calling for Kyiv to resist efforts from some oligarchs to make themselves immune from the new administration’s promised corruption reforms.

In July, Zelenskyy reportedly moved to strip Kolomoisky of his Ukrainian citizenship because of his Israeli and Cypriot passports. Under Ukrainian law, dual nationality is prohibited.

Zelenskyy has since launched a crackdown on graft and illicit financial dealings among officials and well-connected businessmen, moving to equate wartime corruption with treason.

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