Ukraine tycoon Kolomoisky named suspect in decades-old murder attempt

Ukraine tycoon Kolomoisky named suspect in decades-old murder attempt
Ukraine tycoon Kolomoisky named suspect in decades-old murder attempt

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Ihor Kolomoisky, who backed President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the 2019 election and faces charges of fraud and money laundering, has previously denied any wrongdoing in those cases. — Reuters pic

KYIV, May 8 — Ukrainian authorities suspect jailed tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky of being behind the attempted murder of a lawyer in a corporate dispute more than 20 years ago, the national police said today.

Kolomoisky, who backed President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the 2019 election and faces charges of fraud and money laundering, has previously denied any wrongdoing in those cases. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the attempted murder case.

“Police investigators have served a notice of suspicion to a well-known Ukrainian oligarch for ordering a premeditated murder,” the police said in a statement.

They did not identify him by name but posted a photograph of a man with a lightly blurred-out face, which was easily identifiable as Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine’s richest men, who was detained last autumn.

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The alleged murder attempt carries a maximum punishment of life in prison.

National police said the suspect had threatened and failed to win over a lawyer who refused to help him overturn an unfavourable shareholders’ decision at a metallurgical plant in 2003.

Through his bodyguard, the suspect, the police statement said, ordered four members of a criminal group to attack the lawyer in the summer of 2003 in the Crimean city of Feodosia.

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The assailants beat the man with a metal rod and stabbed him in the chest, stomach and back, but his wife prevented the attackers from killing him and doctors managed to save his life, the statement said. The assailants were caught and jailed.

Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist and lawmaker who works as an adviser in Zelenskiy’s office, said on Telegram that the corporate dispute in the statement referred to the Dniprospetsstal enterprise in Zaporizhzhia.

Twenty-three searches were ongoing in four Ukrainian regions on Wednesday to collect additional evidence related to the case, the police said.

Kolomoisky is a former owner of PrivatBank, which was nationalised in 2016 as part of a clean-up of the Ukrainian banking system. He built up a fortune after the 1991 break-up of the Soviet Union, amassing power and media control to become one of Ukraine’s most influential oligarchs.

Kolomoisky is under US sanctions and faces multiple allegations relating to fraud, money laundering and embezzlement. He has denied these accusations. — Reuters

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