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Ukraine Names Powerful Businessman Suspect in Fraud Probe

Ukrainian state security officials named powerful businessman Ihor Kolomoisky as a suspect in a fraud and money laundering case, the SBU security service said on Saturday.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has made cracking down on corruption a priority as Ukraine battles Russia’s 18-month-old invasion. Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine’s richest men, is the most prominent figure to have become a target.

Zelenskyy, who rose to prominence as a comedian and played the role of president on a show aired on a Kolomoisky-owned TV channel, has denied having personal ties to the businessman.

“It was established that during 2013-2020, Ihor Kolomoisky legalized more than half a billion hryvnias [$14 million] by withdrawing them abroad and using the infrastructure of the controlled banks,” the SBU said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.

Kolomoisky could not be reached for comment.

The security service published pictures of a group of detectives at the door of his home, with Kolomoisky receiving and signing documents.

Kolomoisky is a former owner of leading Ukrainian bank PrivatBank, which was nationalized in late 2016 as part of a major clean-up of the country’s banking system.

Earlier this year security officials searched Kolomoisky’s home in connection with a separate investigation into embezzlement and tax evasion at the country’s two largest oil companies, which were partially owned by the businessman.

Kolomoisky owned an array of assets in the energy, banking and other sectors, including one of Ukraine’s most influential television channels.

The United States sanctioned Kolomoisky in 2021 “due to his involvement in significant corruption.” U.S. authorities have also alleged Kolomoisky and a business partner laundered stolen funds through the United States. Kolomoisky has denied any wrongdoing.