US New Sanctions against Ukraine’s Oligarch Kolomoisky

The U.S. State Department banned one of Ukraine’s most powerful oligarchs, Ihor Kolomoisky, from entering the United States because of his involvement in “significant corruption,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Friday.

Ihor-Kolomoisky1Ihor Kolomoisky (Photo: Dnipropetrovsk Regional Council)The designation applies also to Kolomoisky’s immediate family - his wife, Iryna; daughter, Angelika; and son, Israel Zvi. Kolomoisky is believed to have stolen billions of dollars from a Ukrainian bank he once owned.

“In his official capacity as a Governor of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk Oblast from 2014 to 2015, Kolomoisky was involved in corrupt acts that undermined the rule of law and the Ukrainian public’s faith in their government’s democratic institutions and public processes, including using his political influence and official power for his personal benefit,” read the statement.

Blinken also expressed his concern “about Kolomoisky’s current and ongoing efforts to undermine Ukraine’s democratic processes and institutions, which pose a serious threat to its future.”

U.S. authorities have last August seized several U.S. properties that have belonged to Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholiubov, another former owner of the looted PrivatBank.

The U.S. has filed two civil forfeiture complaints against the two on properties worth a combined US$70 million, according to the Department of Justice.

Allegedly, the properties were part of the “hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate and businesses,” that were purchased throughout the U.S. in an effort to launder a portion of the billions that the two siphoned from the bank between approximately 2008 and 2016.

In January this year, the U.S. Justice Department filed a civil forfeiture complaint against an office tower in Cleveland, adding it to another two such properties in Texas and Kentucky that prosecutors allege were purchased by associates of the bank’s former owners.

An earlier OCCRP investigation described how Kolomoisky and Boholiubov orchestrated what the former chairwoman of Ukraine’s central bank described as “one of the biggest financial scandals of the 21st century,” managing to clear $5.5 billion from the coffers of the bank – amounting to roughly five percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Ihor Kolomoisky’s name was also mentioned in the impeachment hearings of the U.S. former President, Donald Trump, in 2019. The impeachment inquiry was launched after a whistleblower claimed that President Trump had improperly pressured Ukraine and its President, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate business dealings involving the son of the then former Vice President, Joe Biden, now the actual U.S. President.