Recently the Guardian, a London-based newspaper, reported that billionaire Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky has a Cyprus citizenship, which was granted to him “in recognition of his substantial investments in that country.”
Indeed, Kolomoisky invested in Cyprus, specifically by establishing there a PrivatBank branch, which was heavily used for laundering funds from Ukraine.
To avoid collapse of the financial sector, the government of Ukraine nationalized PrivatBank, the largest bank of the country, in December. This cost Ukrainian taxpayers at least $5 billion — more than 10 percent of the entire annual state budget, equivalent to what the nation spends each year now on defense and security.
The bank went insolvent merely because its management was regularly issuing huge loans to its beneficiaries, who would never return them.
Prior to nationalization, the National Bank of Ukraine gave to PrivatBank about Hr 30 billion in refinancing loans, which bank’s management was obliged to use for restructuring debts of the bank.
However, just in 2014, Kolomoisky, immediately after receiving the NBU money, issued multimillion-dollar loans to a set of affiliated companies, which in turn transferred about $1.8 billion to a few offshore companies for alleged purchase of goods.
The goods to be delivered in the future were indicated as a collateral of all loans. Of course, the goods were never delivered to Ukraine at the end. At least $1.7 billion were transferred within this scheme to three United Kingdon-based companies through a PrivatBank branch in Cyprus. And, of course, the funds were never returned. The real beneficial owner of all the companies was Kolomoisky himself, which is very easy to check.
These were highly risky financial transactions conducted through financial institution operating in Cyprus, a European Union member state, which has to comply with EU anti-money laundering regulations prohibiting suspicious transactions. However, the Cyprus government did not react to the PrivatBank money laundering machine located within its jurisdiction. Instead, it appeared to be happy with Kolomoisky “investments” granting him citizenship for that.
Something is very wrong here.
In the next decades all Ukrainian taxpayers will repay Kolomoisky’s multibillion-dollar debts. In fact, we Ukrainians all together, by repaying the debts of Kolomoysky, are supporting investments into the Cyprus economy now.
What a rich country Ukraine is!