Espreso. Global

Ukraine's Security Service announces new suspicion to Kolomoisky for misappropriation of UAH 5.8 billion

15 September, 2023 Friday

The former ultimate beneficial owner of PrivatBank, Ihor Kolomoisky, has been served with the third suspicion of misappropriation of UAH 5.8 billion

Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) reported the information.

It noted that between 2013 and 2014, Kolomoisky illegally seized UAH 5.8 billion. To do this, he created a group consisting of employees of the bank in which he was the founder and shareholder. 

During the year, members of this group allowed Kolomoisky to allegedly make systematic fictitious "cash deposits to the bank's cash desk", although in fact the bank did not receive any deposits. According to the investigation, this "scheme" allowed him to receive a total of UAH 5.8 billion, which was equivalent to more than USD 700 million at the time.

"To launder the digital assets, Kolomoisky paid with them in his business activities. Specifically, he extended them as loans, settled outstanding debts with them for companies within his purview, transferred them overseas, converted them to cash, and withdrew funds from bank branches," the statement said.

Based on SBU materials, he was served an additional notice of suspicion under the following articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine:

  • Part 3 of Article 27, Part 3 of Article 28, Part 2 of Article 200 (illegal actions with transfer documents, payment cards and other means of access to bank accountsб digital money, equipment for their production);
  • Part 3 Art. 27, Art. 191(5) (misappropriation of another's property by abuse of office by an official, committed by an organized group, on a particularly large scale);
  • Part 3 of Art. 27, Part 3 of Art. 209 (legalization of the proceeds of crime).

The SBU press center added that the pre-trial investigation is still ongoing.

Initially, Serhiy Leshchenko, an adviser to the head of the Presidential Office, informed about the new suspician notice to Kolomoisky. 

According to Leshchenko, Kolomoisky was notified of the suspicion in a pre-trial detention center, in the presence of his lawyer. The new suspicion is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Economic Security. 

According to the document to which Leshchenko refers, Kolomoisky is suspected:

  • in organizing the forgery of documents for the transfer of funds 

  • in organizing the seizure of another person's property by an organized group on a particularly large scale 

  • in the acquisition and disposal of property in respect of which the actual circumstances indicate that it was obtained by criminal means. 

According to Leshchenko, the pre-trial investigation found that Kolomoisky organized and led an organized group, which also included the head of the Kyiv branch of PrivatBank, Serhiy Volkov, and other officials of the branch and the head office of PrivatBank.

The group developed a plan aimed at seizing PrivatBank's funds. It consisted of artificially creating the appearance of depositing cash on behalf of Kolomoisky to the cash desk of the bank's head office, accounting for it, and arranging for the transportation of non-existent cash by cash collectors.

Such artificial cash deposits on behalf of Kolomoisky took place from March 26, 2013 to February 18, 2014, for a total of UAH 5 billion 878 million. Later, according to Leshchenko, this cash was legalized by transferring it to: 

  • FC Dnipro Ltd;

  • to Kolomoisky's own account;

  • to the United Jewish Community of Ukraine organization;

  • Proton-21 LLC;

  • YBI LLC;

  • Gambit FC LLC;

  • PJSC NPK-Galicia;

  • by replenishing your own card account in Privatbank;

  • as well as a bank account at IBOX Bank JSC with subsequent transfer of funds to the accounts of a number of non-resident companies: Marks and Sokolov LLC (USA); Hughes Hubbard and Reed LLP (USA); Fieldfisher LLP (UK); Nomea Law Firm (Switzerland).

Disclaimer. In accordance with Article 62 of the Constitution of Ukraine, a person shall be presumed innocent of committing a crime and shall not be subjected to criminal punishment until his or her guilt is proved by law and established by a court verdict of guilty.

Cases related to Kolomoisky

At the end of 2016, the Ukrainian government decided to nationalize PrivatBank, after which the financial institution was recapitalized by more than UAH 155 billion. Earlier, the US Department of Justice accused Ihor Kolomoisky of embezzling billions of dollars from PrivatBank, which he allegedly laundered through companies in the United States and other countries. The oligarch denied the allegations and said that he had made all the investments from his own funds.

Ukrainian and foreign courts have considered over 240 proceedings on the nationalization of PrivatBank. In particular, a London court is considering a lawsuit filed by PrivatBank against the former owners of the financial institution, Kolomoisky and Boholyubov, and their affiliated companies. The bank is seeking compensation in connection with schemes that have signs of fraud and money laundering, which the bank believes were implemented by its former owners.

On March 5, 2021, the United States imposed sanctions on Ihor Kolomoisky and his family members.

In September 2022, the Ukrainian anti-corruption authorities notified eight persons involved in a criminal investigation of suspicion of misappropriation of funds of Ukrnafta, one of the shareholders of which is the Privat Group, which is affiliated with Ihor Kolomoisky, in the amount of over UAH 13 billion. The suspects include the former chairman of Ukrnafta's board; the former deputy head of the company's oil, gas and refined products sales department; the former head of the department for control over accounting and supply of oil products at Ukrnafta; and former directors of five commercial enterprises.

Later, on November 7, 2022, the state seized the property of five strategically important enterprises, including Ukrnafta. At the same time, in November 2022, businessmen Ihor Kolomoisky and Hennadiy Boholyubov, co-owner of the Privat group, were arrested in absentia in Russia for allegedly misappropriating 800,000 tons of Russian oil.

On Saturday, September 2, 2023, the SBU served Ihor Kolomoisky with a notice of suspicion of laundering fraudulently obtained property. On the same day, Kolomoisky arrived at the Shevchenkivskyi District Court of Kyiv, where he was imposed a 60-day arrest with the possibility of bail in the amount of UAH 509 million.

Serhiy Leshchenko, an adviser to the head of the Presidential Office, said that Kolomoisky was listed in the fraud case as a citizen of Israel and Cyprus. However, Censor.Net published a video of Kolomoisky's pre-trial detention, during which the judge called the suspect a citizen of Ukraine.

Ihor Kolomoisky is charged with fraud and misappropriation of property.

On September 6, the consideration of the appeal against the preventive measure for Ihor Kolomoisky was postponed to September 25, as the case file was not submitted to the court in time.

On Thursday, September 7, NABU detectives served Ihor Kolomoisky and 5 other former employees of the bank with a notice of suspicion of misappropriation of over UAH 9.2 billion of PrivatBank funds.

On September 8, Kolomoisky's assets were reportedly seized for 48 hours based on NABU materials.

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