Ukrainian tycoon who backed Zelensky’s presidential candidacy accused of fraud

An influential Ukrainian tycoon who backed Volodymyr Zelensky’s 2019 presidential bid has been named a suspect in a fraud and money laundering investigation amid a nationwide crackdown on corruption.

Igor Kolomoisky, an energy, media and banking magnate, received a “suspicion notice” in the criminal case, the Security Service of Ukraine said in a statement on Saturday.

“It was established that between 2013 and 2020 Kolomoisky legalized more than 500 million Ukrainian hryvnias. [around $13.5 million] transferring it abroad using the infrastructure of controlled banking institutions,” they said in the agency’s press service.

Kolomoisky is the co-founder of PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest financial institution, which became state-owned in 2016 after officials discovered $5 billion in missing company assets.

Igot Kolomoisky, the billionaire tycoon who endorsed Zelensky during his 2019 presidential bid, has been named a suspect in a fraud and money laundering case. REUTERS
Ukrainian police officers at the door of a house are attended to by a bearded man, Igor Kolomoisky.Kolomoisky was informed that he was a suspect in a fraud and money laundering case, the Ukrainian Security Service said on Saturday. Via REUTERS
Igor Kolomoisky is sitting in a courtroom with two other men at his side and a judge in the background.The criminal case in which Kolomoisky was named a suspect comes amid an ongoing crackdown on corruption in Ukraine. REUTERS

The Ukrainian-born oligarch also controlled a large media empire that promoted Zelensky during his 2019 presidential bid and “many saw Zelensky as Kolomoisky’s candidate,” the US think tank Atlantic Council said in 2021.

The criminal case against Kolomoisky is the latest in an ongoing crackdown on corruption that saw Zelensky fire all of his military recruiting chiefs for corruption last month.

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