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2 Sep, 2023 22:00

Billionaire ex-Zelensky sponsor arrested

Igor Kolomoisky was detained for two months on charges of fraud, with bail set at $13.5 million
Billionaire ex-Zelensky sponsor arrested

Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, whose support is widely believed to have helped Vladimir Zelensky secure the country’s presidency, has been detained pending trial for alleged money laundering.

Kolomoisky was brought to Kiev’s Shevchenko district court on Saturday, after the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) accused the billionaire of legalizing and transferring abroad more than 500 million Ukrainian hryvnia ($13.5 million) through the “infrastructure of banking institutions controlled by him.”

The pretrial detention hearing was held behind closed doors, as requested by Kolomoisky, who reportedly did not want the media to share photos of him in the courtroom. Several Ukrainian media outlets still captured photos and videos from the proceeding.

The court eventually set bail at 509 million hryvnia, a figure comparable to what the SBU accuses Kolomoisky of laundering.

The oligarch’s legal team said it seeks to appeal the ruling, but does not plan to post bail immediately.

Kolomoisky burst onto the political scene in 2014, when he was appointed governor of the southeastern Dnepropetrovsk Region following a Western-backed coup in Kiev. He was dismissed a year later over a conflict with then-Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko.

He is also widely considered to have played a major role in the rise to power of President Vladimir Zelensky, whose TV show was hosted by a Kolomoisky-controlled media holding.