The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the Economic Security Bureau raided the house of Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky in Dnipro on the morning of Feb. 1, Ukrainian online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda reported, according to Kyiv Independent, citing anonymous law enforcement sources.
“The sources told the media outlet that the oligarch is allegedly accused of evading customs payments and embezzling oil products worth $1 billion”, Kyiv Independent reports. “The case involing Kolomoisky concerns oil company Ukrnafa. Companies associated with Kolomoisky reportedly owned about 42% of Ukrnafta until 2022. In October 2022, Kolomoisky, a former owner of Ukraine’s largest lender PrivatBank, was interrogated by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU).”
The Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings, which paid Hunter Biden $1 Million a year between 2014 and the end of Joe Biden’s term as Vice-President, is officially owned by former environmental minister Mykola Zlotchevsy.
However, writing in “Secret Empires“, Peter Schweizer noted that Ihor Kolomoisky was possibly the real owner of Burisma Holdings: In 2011, “the ownership structure of Burisma had been quietly transferred to a Cyprus-based company called Brociti Investments. … Zlochevsky’s name was still attached to the company, but Burisma’s major subsidiaries now listed the same business address as the natural gas firm controlled by a controversial Ukrainian oligarch named Ihor Kolomoisky.”
TRENDING: BREAKING: Hunter Biden Asks Joe Biden’s Asst. AG, Delaware AG and IRS to Go After Individuals Close to President Trump Who Shared Information from His Laptop
In early November 2014, Deutsche Bank reported $24 million from Zlochevsky’s companies was wired from Cyprus to the Latvia branch of Kolomoysky’s PrivatBank.
In 2015, the International Monetary Fund gave Ukraine a $17.5 billion aid package, of which the IMF claimed that $5.6 billion disappeared from PrivatBank due to shady lending practices under Kolomoisky, Reuters reports. PrivatBank was nationalized 2016 and Kolomosiky has been battling to get it back ever since.
In 2018, the IMF released the findings of an investigation by corporate investigations consultancy Kroll that Privatbank had been subjected to “a large-scale and coordinated fraud over at least a 10-year period ending in December 2016.” Kolomoisky denied the allegations.
The Daily Mail called Kolomoisky “a ‘James Bond villain’ oligarch who is said to keep sharks in his office to intimidate his enemies” and “a warlord who helped Volodymyr Zelensky’s rise to power”:
He backed the then-actor during his 2019 presidential bid with his media empire, although Zelensky has distanced himself from the billionaire businessman.
The mogul, who has been sanctioned by the US, also ‘laundered $5.5billion through a tangle of shell companies, purchasing factories and commercial properties across the U.S. heartland,’ the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists claims.
According to Forbes, he once deployed ‘hundreds of hired rowdies armed with baseball bats, iron bars, gas and rubber bullet pistols and chainsaws’ to forcibly take over a steel plant.
He once lined the lobby of an oil company he wanted to push out with a row of coffins, and filled his shark tank with bloodied chum when he wanted to intimidate opponents.
Following the 2014 EuroMaidan Revolution when Russia first started trying to seize Ukraine, Kolomoisky started to bankroll the neo-Nazi Azov regiment and refashioned himself as a fierce defender of the motherland.
The government was forced to give a mammoth £4.5billion bailout to PrivatBank to stop it collapsing, and soon found money hidden in faraway places such as Cleveland, Ohio, the Daily Mail reports.
On Nov. 16, 2016, so-to-be Ex-Vice President Joe Biden put unusual pressure on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to nationalize PrivatBank, before Donald Trump assumed office:
Biden: Let me ask you one thing before I forget. Privatbank I understand that the head of the NBU requires deciding on a specific date when to begin the process of change. I was told, and I share this position, that it will not determine the date until it agrees with you. And I said that you need to return to the determination of the date, and that I will talk with you about this date. Because something is approaching that I would not want to happen. I do not want Trump to be in a position where he seems to be ready to circumvent our policy, where the financial system could fall apart and where he is going to block the allocation of money to Ukraine. That is what it will look like until it comes to considering complex unfamiliar details.
Therefore, everything that can be done to put pressure on Privatbank to close, in order to receive the next tranche from the IMF, I would respectfully recommend as critically important for your economy and physical security.
I know that is difficult. Kolomoisky is a pain in the ass and a problem for everyone, but it is really critical that you deal with it now. And all will be well. I just want you to call the head of the NBU and support her. Let her know that you are with her when she determines the date and goes forward.
Poroshenko: It is very important what I heard from you. I think that on November 22, on Tuesday I will receive a final report from Ernst & Young on the audit. And we agreed that I, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance, the head of the NBU. I also invited Arseny and other security officers …
We should meet and decide on a date. The only reason why after November 22, when I will have an audit report, is a vote in parliament, where Kolomoisky has a significant number of members. The Prime Minister asked me to vote first on the budget, and then start the process. This is confidential information, but …
Biden: I’ll keep it a secret …
The Ukrainian Cabinet officially confirmed the decision to nationalize PrivatBank on December 18, 2016.
Biden also put Poroshenko under pressure to fire Viktor Shokin as Ukraine’s prosecutor general, who was investigating Burisma at the time, in exchange for the IMF loan of $1 billion.
On Feb.16, 2016, Poroshenko told Biden:
Poroshenko: Joe, I have some good news for you. Yesterday, or rather it was the day before yesterday, I met with the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Viktor Shokin. Despite the absence of any allegations of corruption and evidence of any unlawful actions, I specifically asked him to resign. According to the results of our meeting, despite the support in the parliament, he promised me to submit his resignation, showing his state position. And an hour ago he brought a written resignation letter.