Zelensky extracted US$100 billion US taxpayer’s cash


Igor Kolomoysky, a Ukrainian billionaire oligarch, has recently come under the spotlight due to his connections with prominent figures such as Hunter Biden and Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky. Kolomoysky’s influence extends across various sectors, including metal, petroleum, and the media industry. However, his involvement in funding neo-Nazi militias in Ukraine has raised significant concerns.

In March 2022, the Kanekoa News blog on Substack.com shed light on Kolomoysky’s role as the benefactor and boss of Hunter Biden during his tenure at the Ukrainian gas company, Burisma Holdings. Contrary to popular belief, Mykola Zlochevsky, the CEO of Burisma Holdings, was not the primary influencer; it was Kolomoysky. This connection between Kolomoysky and Hunter Biden was significant, considering the controversy surrounding Burisma and its ties to the Biden family.

Kolomoysky’s reputation is far from conventional. He has holdings worldwide and has faced allegations of embezzlement and fraud, particularly related to the PrivatGroup bank he owned. The US Justice Department accused him of misappropriating billions and using a network of companies, including those in the US, to launder the funds.

Kolomoysky’s eccentricities include reportedly keeping a live shark in his office to intimidate visitors and using colorful language to describe political figures like Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has been a polarizing figure, to say the least.

A 2012 study by the AntiCorruption Action Centre (ANTAC) in Ukraine, co-funded by George Soros and the US State Department, found Kolomoysky to be the true owner of Burisma Holdings. This discovery led to concerns about the oligarch’s involvement in the gas industry and his accumulation of substantial natural gas reserves in Ukraine.

Furthermore, Kolomoysky’s ties to Burisma extended beyond his ownership. The company changed hands in 2011, with an offshore entity named Brociti Investments Ltd taking control. Interestingly, Brociti Investments Ltd shared addresses with Ukrnaftoburinnya and Esko-Pivnich, both Ukrainian gas companies owned by Kolomoysky through offshore entities.

Before becoming Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky had a close association with Kolomoysky. Zelensky’s media company produced shows for Kolomoysky’s TV network, 1+1 Media Group, one of Ukraine’s largest media conglomerates. Zelensky gained fame for portraying a president in a popular television sitcom called “Servant of the People,” which aired on a channel owned by Kolomoysky.

During his presidential campaign in 2019, Zelensky received substantial support from Kolomoysky’s media channels, with the oligarch providing security, legal assistance, and vehicles for Zelensky’s campaign. This close relationship between the two raised questions about the influence of wealthy oligarchs in Ukrainian politics.

Kolomoysky’s financial support has not been limited to media and politics. He has allegedly financed controversial groups such as the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, which has faced accusations of war crimes and civilian casualties in eastern Ukraine. Other militias, like the Dnipro and Aidar Battalions, have also benefited from Kolomoysky’s financial backing.

The nonprofit research group Marco Polo, investigating Hunter Biden’s laptop, identified Kolomoysky as a key figure in concealing the Bidens’ Ukraine transactions. Text messages found on Hunter Biden’s laptop mentioned “children burned alive in DONETSK” and “children killed in Donetsk, Ukraine”, which appeared to refer to Kolomoysky and his alleged involvement in eastern Ukraine’s conflict.

Kolomoysky’s financial dealings have also had international repercussions. His Privatbank collapsed in 2016 amid accusations of embezzlement and fraud, resulting in a bailout that cost the Ukrainian government, and indirectly American and European taxpayers, around US$5.5 billion.

In 2020, the US Justice Department moved to seize Kolomoysky’s US properties, alleging that he embezzled and defrauded billions from Privatbank and laundered the funds into American assets. These assets included a steel plant in Kentucky, a commercial high-rise in Cleveland, and a Motorola manufacturing plant in Illinois.

Igor Kolomoysky’s complex web of connections, business ventures, and controversies continues to be a topic of interest and concern in both Ukraine and international circles.

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Damsana Ranadhiran
Damsana Ranadhiran
Damsana Ranadhiran, Special Contributor to Blitz is a security analyst specializing on South Asian affairs.

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