Ukrainian oligarchs key to US sanctions

MOSCOW – The United States on Friday placed restrictions on a Ukrainian business tycoon seen as the most powerful figure in the country outside the government, signaling an aggressive new approach by the Biden administration to combat corruption in Ukraine.

Ihor Kolomisky, an oil and media magnate businessman, was already under investigation in the United States Embezzlement and fraud, And to use the proceeds to purchase commercial real estate in Cleveland, Ohio.

At home in Ukraine, he is one of the most prominent sections of the elite of Soviet industrialists known as oligarchs and has been both an ally and a political albatross for President Volodymyr Zalensky.

The practice of the Ukrainian oligarchy influenced influence in the country, controlled the news media and at times led to overall funding Faction in parliament with American and European efforts to strengthen Ukraine’s pro-Western geopolitical orientation. He has done so even when he kept money in Western banks and investments and sent his children to live or study in Europe and the United States.

On Friday, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Barr Min. The announcement by Kolomisky and his family members to travel to the United States was due to “being involved in important acts of corruption”.

The penalty does not have a financial element, although some of Mr. Kolomoki’s assets have already been seized by the Department of Justice in separate actions. Mr. Kolomiskey’s portfolio of US real estate is estimated at several hundred million dollars.

in Statement, Mr. Blinken said that Mr. Kolomoki had used a position in government as a regional governor in Ukraine for his personal gain. Acknowledging that the Ukrainian has no official role today, Mr Blinken said he presented a risk for “ongoing efforts to undermine Ukraine’s democratic processes and institutions”, influencing the Zalensky administration There was a clear reference to his efforts. Mr. Zelensky has Denied to He is admiring the businessman.

The United States has for years vaccinated how to handle Mr. Kolomoski, a powerful figure emerging from the legal and political Post-Soviet Anarchy in Ukraine.

In the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, Mr. Kolmoyski played a positive role in financing one of the largest and most effective paramilitary units fighting Russian military intervention for Ukraine, at a time when the regular army was shabby. Mr. Kolomiskey’s militia, called Denipro, organized a part of the fighting west of the city of Donetsk.

But his bank, Privetbank, collapsed in 2016 amid accusations of embezzlement and fraud, which were denied by Mr. Kolomoki. The bank’s failure cost the Ukrainian government – and by expanding American and European taxpayers, who pushed it forward with aid money – $ 5.5 billion in a bailout.

The Justice Department has accused Mr. Kolomiskey and business associates of embezzlement and fraud and seized real estate in Cleveland in a civil seizure action.

The action on Friday mirrored Mr. Biden’s strategy of trying to clean up Ukraine’s internal politics as the best protection against Russia’s influence.

It would provide President Zelenski with international support to make a clean break with Oligarch if he so desires. The day before the announcement, Mr. Zelensky’s spokesman Published One article stated that he plans to reduce the role of oligarchs in Ukraine’s politics.

But this is not an ordinary thing. Mr. Kolomiskey controls a faction in Mr. Zelensky’s political party, Servant of the People, without which the party would not have a majority in Parliament. Mr. Kolomiskey’s television station supported Mr. Zelensky in the 2019 presidential election.

Handling Ukrainian corruption has also been imposed politically in the United States. President Biden has long experience in Ukraine, handling that department as Vice President in the Obama administration – activities that featured prominently in President Trump’s first impeachment.

A central controversy among Democratic lawmakers in the first impeachment trial of former President Trump in the fall of 2019 was that they had expressed their willingness to fight corruption in Ukraine by stopping military aid. In fact, he said, he withheld aid to pressure Mr. Zelenski to investigate Mr. Biden, a potential rival in the 2020 presidential election at the time. Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolf W. Giuliani had worked with Mr. Kolomoki’s colleagues in his efforts to expose the dirt on Mr. Biden in Ukraine.

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