Ukrainian oligarch linked to Trump’s impeachment has been charged with money laundering by the Justice Department
A Ukrainian oligarch who played key roles in the events that led to the impeachment of President Trump last year has been accused by the Justice Department of stealing billions of dollars from a bank he once owned and money laundering in the VS.
According to the DOJ, Ihor Kolomoisky and his business partner, Gennadiy Boholyubov, stole so much money from PrivatBank that the Ukrainian national bank had to give the institution a $ 5.5 billion bail to “prevent the economic crisis for the entire country.”
The two men were majority shareholders of PrivatBank before it was nationalized in 2016 in response to the fraud. The men used the bank as their own personal account to build an illegal business empire in the US, the Department of Justice said.
The allegation was made in a civil forfeiture, which sought to seize commercial property of the men in Kentucky and Texas.
Ihor Kolomoisky (above) and his business partner, Gennadiy Boholyubov, stole so much money from PrivatBank that the Ukrainian national bank had to give the institution a $ 5.5 billion bail to “avert the economic crisis for the entire country”
The two men were majority shareholders of PrivateBank before it was nationalized in 2016 in response to the fraud. The men used the bank as a personal account to build an illegal business empire in the US, according to the Justice Department
Kolomoisky and Boholyubov reportedly used their status as owners to repeatedly request money from the bank, which they would then move through a huge network of shell companies to “thoroughly disguise their nature, source, property and control.”
Gennadiy Boholyubov, Ko was also charged in the scheme. He is the old business partner of Kolomoisky and previously owned Privatbank with him
Among their purchases were over five million square feet of commercial real estate in Ohio, steel mills in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Michigan, a cell phone factory in Illinois, and commercial real estate in Texas.
Forfeiture complaints focused on the seizure of an almost 20-acre Dallas office park and the PNC Plaza building in Louisville.
Kolomoisky, who is one of the wealthiest men in Ukraine, “emphatically denied” the allegations made in the complaint by the Ministry of Justice, in a statement issued by his lawyer to the Washington Post.
He made a fortune after the collapse of the Soviet Union and amassed airline assets to financial institutions. Known by the nickname ‘Benya’, he also created a larger-than-life image for himself, even keeping a shark aquarium in his office.
Despite his pleas for innocence, he has long been faced with a criminal investigation by the US Attorney’s Office in Cleveland for possible money laundering. In connection with that case, the FBI raided his Optima Management Group’s office in the city next Tuesday, alongside another Optima office in Miami.
The forfeiture complaints focused on the seizure of an almost 20-acre office park in Dallas (left) and the PNC Plaza building in Louisville (right).
In court documents released Thursday, the DOJ alleged that two Miami-based employees of Kolomoisky and Boholyubov, Mordechai Korf and Uriel Laber, helped acquire and manage the capital of the U.S. oligarchs – who often carry a variation on the name ‘Optima’.
At one point, Optima Ventures became the “ largest commercial real estate owner in Cleveland, ” after using stolen money to acquire large downtown office buildings and a hotel, the DOJ said.
Kolomoisky and Boholyubov were expelled from the Privatbank after the Ukrainian last president, Petro Poroshenko, nationalized the bank. Poroshenko accused Kolomoisky and his partners of cheating the bank into billions of dollars.
Kolomoisky insisted he was innocent, but left for Israel amid the consequences of Kiev. He maintained political power in Ukraine through his various business interests, including a large television network.
He also has close ties to the current President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, and played a role in the events leading up to the ousting of President Trump in 2019.
Kolomoisky is considered an ally of Zelensky, who was an actor before his presidency and starred in a comedy series that aired on the Kolomoisky network.
Kolomoisky (right) and Boholyubov were expelled from the Privatbank after the Ukrainian last president, Petro Poroshenko (left), nationalized the bank. Poroshenko accused Kolomoisky and his partners of cheating the bank into billions of dollars.
Zelensky’s election was considered a huge advantage for Kolomoisky, especially after taking the oligarch’s personal layer as head of his administration, the Washington Post reported.
Their relationship was viewed with suspicion in the US, as their apparent connection contradicted Zelensky’s promise of anti-corruption reform.
However, Zelensky has not supported the return of PrivatBank to Kolomoisky’s control and has since fired his lawyer as his senior assistant.
Kolomoisky, meanwhile, has returned from his self-imposed exile in Israel and is back in Kiev, where he maintains relations with members of Zelensky’s government.
The oligarch also became involved in a political crossfire in the U.S. last year, when Trump’s lawyer Rudy Guiliani continued on a mission to pressure Zelensky to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. , Hunter.
Employees of Guiliani, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman met with Kolomoisky in April 2019 to request a meeting between the former New York City mayor and Zelensky.
Apparently the meeting did not go well. In the days that followed, Parnas and Fruman accused Kolomoisky of physically threatening them and addressed him in Ukraine.
Guiliani said he gave legal advice to his two employees in their lawsuit against Kolomoisky. He also tweeted several times about his dislike of the oligarch in May 2019, just as he was pressuring Zelensky to investigate the Bidens on Trump’s behalf.
Kolomoisky is considered an ally of Zelensky (above), who was an actor before his presidency and starred in a comedy series broadcast on the Kolomoisky network
Employees of Guiliani, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman (right) met with Kolomoisky in April 2019 to request a meeting between former New York City mayor and Zelensky
However, Kolomoisky said that at the meeting, Parnas and Fruman claimed that they could get top US officials to attend Zelensky’s inauguration – including Vice President Mike Pence – if he paid them hundreds of thousands of dollars.
He said he refused to pay the money and kicked them out of his office, his lawyer Bruce Marks told the mail.
According to Marks, Kolomoisky at the time predicted to friends “This is going to be a big scandal.”
Trump was later impeached after a formal House investigation alleged that he asked for foreign interference in the 2020 United States presidential election to help his reelection bid, and then hampered the investigation himself by telling his government officials to ignore subpoenas for documents and testimonials.
The investigation found that Trump has withheld military aid and an invitation to the White House from Zelensky to pressure him to launch the Biden probe.
Parnas and Fruman were accused last year of campaign finance violations. They have denied any wrongdoing.