Fascinating Timing: Home of Ukrainian Oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky Raided

AP Photo/Mikhail Palinchak, Presidential Press Service, File

While the FBI was busy conducting a “planned search” of U.S. President Joe Biden’s Delaware beach house (which follows their search of his Wilmington residence in January and, we just recently learned, the Penn Biden Center in November), Ukrainian officials were carrying out a search at the home of oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky. Why reference them in the same sentence? We’ll return to that.


Per the Washington Post:

Ukrainian police raided the home of oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, the head of Ukraine’s ruling party confirmed. Writing on Telegram early Wednesday, David Arakhamia said searches and other actions were also carried out against government offices and officials. Local media, including Ukrainska Pravda, reported that the raid against Kolomoisky — who made his fortune through energy companies, banking, airlines and media — was related to an investigation into embezzlement. Ukraine’s security service said it had conducted searches of construction companies in Kyiv, which it alleged were involved in laundering money to benefit former pro-Russian lawmakers. Last week, Zelensky dismissed a number of senior figures, including a close adviser, mostly on corruption allegations.

The high-profile searches, firings and investigations came ahead of the E.U. summit, a meeting Kyiv hopes will help its bid to become a full member of the bloc. More officials were dismissed Wednesday, including leaders in the customs service and the deputy head of the state forestry agency, according to Arakhamia. Ukrainian officials are also “preparing new reforms,” Zelensky said Tuesday. An E.U. official on Wednesday called the earlier dismissals “a signal of their determination and of the functioning of what they have now put in place.”

So…who exactly is Ihor (or Igor) Kolomoisky (or Kolomoyskyi) and why are Ukrainian officials cracking down on him now? The BBC provides a little more background:


Ukraine has come under increasing pressure from its Western partners, notably the EU, to tackle corruption. When Mr Zelensky came to power in 2019 he cited the fight against corruption as one of his main priorities.

Kyiv is due to host a summit with leading EU officials this week, seen by Ukraine as highly important in its push for membership of the 27-member union. Kyiv was granted EU candidate status four months after Russia’s invasion, but it was urged to do more to tackle corruption.

Ten leading Ukrainian figures resigned last week, as part of the purge, including Mr Zelensky’s deputy head of office Kyrylo Tymoshenko.

And how does Kolomoisky fit into all this?

Mr Kolomoisky is one of Ukraine’s best-known individuals and Ukrainian websites published pictures of detectives searching his home in the south-eastern city of Dnipro as he looked on.

The tycoon took on the role of governor of the wider Dnipropetrovsk region in 2014 and played a key role in funding volunteer battalions in response to Russia’s initial landgrab in eastern Ukraine.

However, the US placed him under sanctions for alleged “significant corruption” during his time as governor. He has denied any wrongdoing.

What sort of sanctions? Well, in March 2021, the U.S. State Department blacklisted Kolomoisky, barring his entry into the country. Per Reuters:


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department on Friday said it designated former Ukrainian public official Igor Kolomoisky as ineligible to enter the United States, accusing him of involvement in significant corruption during his time in office.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement accused Kolomoisky, once the governor of the province of Dnipropetrovsk, close to the border with Russia, of using his office as a governor for personal benefit.

“While this designation is based on acts during his time in office, I also want to express concern about Kolomoyskyy’s current and ongoing efforts to undermine Ukraine’s democratic processes and institutions, which pose a serious threat to its future,” Blinken said, using another spelling of the Ukrainian’s name.

Further, in January 2022, the Department of Justice announced a fourth civil forfeiture action against Kolomoisky:

The United States filed a civil forfeiture complaint today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging that more than $6 million in proceeds from the sale of commercial real estate in Dallas, Texas, which property was maintained and improved using the proceeds of embezzlement and fraud from PrivatBank in Ukraine, are subject to forfeiture based on violations of federal money laundering statutes.

This civil forfeiture action is the fourth such action filed in connection with the same alleged criminal activity. In August 2020, the United States filed two actions in the Southern District of Florida alleging that commercial real estate in Dallas and Louisville, Kentucky, was acquired using funds illegally obtained from PrivatBank in Ukraine as part of a multibillion-dollar fraudulent loan scheme. It filed a third suit in the same district in December 2020 alleging a property in Cleveland, Ohio, was similarly involved.

The four complaints allege that Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholiubov, who owned PrivatBank, one of the largest banks in Ukraine, embezzled and defrauded the bank of billions of dollars. The two allegedly obtained fraudulent loans and lines of credit from approximately 2008 through 2016, when the scheme was uncovered and the bank was nationalized by the National Bank of Ukraine. The complaints allege that they laundered a portion of the criminal proceeds using an array of shell companies’ bank accounts, primarily at PrivatBank’s Cyprus branch, before they transferred the funds to the United States.


That certainly sounds sketchy. No wonder they’re going after him. Except, here’s an interesting twist: Kolomoisky was a major benefactor of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Politico noted the ties in an April 2019 piece, titled: “The Comedian and the Oligarch“:

Zelenskiy — a young comedian who rose to fame playing a humble schoolteacher who becomes president of Ukraine in the hit television show, “Servant of the People” — appeals to Ukrainians frustrated with the country’s oligarchic elite, and the failure to drain the swamp after the country’s 2014 revolution.

Ukrainians hope that Zelenskiy will fight for the common man instead. It’s a powerful narrative that has catapulted this political unknown within spitting distance of the presidency.

There’s just one major problem with it: the oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, whose television station 1+1 hosts Zelenskiy’s hit show.

Kolomoisky’s media outlet also provides security and logistical backup for the comedian’s campaign, and it has recently emerged that Zelenskiy’s legal counsel, Andrii Bohdan, was the oligarch’s personal lawyer. Investigative journalists have also reported that Zelenskiy traveled 14 times in the past two years to Geneva and Tel Aviv, where Kolomoisky is based in exile. Neither man could be reached for comment.

Safe to say their relationship may have since soured.


But what does any of this have to do with Joe Biden? Well, perhaps nothing. It is interesting, though, to bear the following in mind:

  • As noted in the DOJ announcement regarding civil forfeiture above, Kolomoisky was one of the owners of Ukraine’s PrivatBank until it was nationalized in December 2016
  • Kolomoisky reportedly also held a controlling interest in Burisma Holdings, Inc.
  • Hunter Biden sat on the board of Burisma from 2014 through 2019 (for which he reportedly was paid a tidy sum of $50,000 a month)

The Daily Signal further lays things out:

  • Kolomoisky publicly said in 2019 that he refused to cooperate with efforts by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to get his help in investigating Hunter Biden and Burisma—and potentially Joe Biden, multiple news outlets reported. House Democrats’ impeachment report on Trump also cited the incident in late 2019.
  • Emails from 2015, published last year by the New York Post, show a Kolomoisky protege communicated with Hunter Biden about a meeting between the protege and Joe Biden, then vice president under President Barack Obama.
  • Court filings from 2019 by a private investigatory firm allege that legally obtained bank records of Hunter Biden show payments to him from the Kolomoisky-owned PrivatBank.

Oh, and just one more thing:

Who can forget Biden’s boasting of his role in having former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin canned?


But in 2018, Biden himself talked about pushing the Ukraine to remove Shokin in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations — without disclosing his son’s ties to the Ukrainian company.

In March 2016, Biden recalled, he told Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that the US government would cancel $1 billion of loan guarantees unless Shokin, who was facing his own charges of corruption, was removed from office.

“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion,’” Biden said in the videotaped speech. “I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’”

“Well, son of a bitch, he got fired,” Biden concluded. Shokin was formally ousted from his post by the Ukrainian Parliament that same month.

Within weeks, the investigation into Burisma was dropped. Hunter Biden remained on its board until April 2019, severing his ties with the company days before Joe Biden announced his White House run.

There sure do seem to be a lot of coincidences cropping up.


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