US says corrupt Ukrainian oligarch banned from entering country

Antony Blinken
Antony Blinken

dpa/GNA – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, said on Friday that an entry ban has been imposed against billionaire Ukrainian oligarch and former public official Igor Kolomoisky, due to his involvement in “significant corruption.”

In his former role as governor of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, Kolomoisky, 58, engaged in corrupt acts and used his political power to enrich himself, Blinken said in Washington.

Blinken said that while the punitive measure relates to Kolomoisky’s time in office, the Ukrainian is also part of “ongoing efforts to undermine Ukraine’s democratic processes and institutions.”
The US State Department also imposed entry bans on his wife and children.

The 58-year-old was one of the main supporters of the candidacy of Volodymyr Zelensky, who was elected president in 2019 and has tried to foster close ties with Washington.

However, Zelensky is seen as increasingly trying to distance himself from Kolomoisky, who in recent years has also been confronted by money-laundering investigations by US authorities.

Kolomoisky belongs to a group of Ukrainians who became rich in the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

His business activities now focus on companies in the oil and metals sectors. He holds shares in Ukraine’s largest airline and one of the leading television stations. He co-founded Ukraine’s largest bank, PrivatBank, in 1992. The firm was nationalized in late 2016.

From March 2014 to March 2015, Kolomoiski was governor of his home region of Dnipropetrovsk, in the south-east of Ukraine.

He was initially credited with forcefully suppressing separatist efforts in the Russian-speaking region. However, some of his methods raised alarm for their alleged illegality.

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