Judge orders unfreezing of Kolomoisky’s assets in PrivatBank case
Lawyers for two of Ukraine’s wealthiest oligarchs, Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholyubov, have said the London High Court has ordered the freeing of their clients’ assets as the country’s largest bank, PrivatBank, suffers setbacks to attempts to recover billions of dollars it claims were stolen by the two businessmen.
The two owned PrivatBank before the Ukrainian government nationalized it in 2016 and was forced to inject $5.5 billion of taxpayers’ money to replace missing cash. In 2017, PrivatBank succeeded in getting the assets frozen worldwide by proceedings in the London High Court intended as a prelude to a full trial for the oligarchs.
The legal proceedings concerned only whether English courts were the correct jurisdiction for any eventual trial and were not to decide on the guilt or innocence of the two Ukrainian oligarchs. Kolomoisky and Boholyubov deny that billions of dollars of PrivatBank’s money went missing when they were in charge. But they admit to causing $248 million losses to the bank.
Ukraine sues oligarch Kolomoisky again, now in his domicile of Switzerland
The rigmarole continues for Ukraine’s attempts to recover over $5 billion siphoned off from the country’s largest bank, PrivatBank, from its former owners.
The National Bank of Ukraine filed a lawsuit to a Geneva tribunal claiming Hr 6.64 billion ($238 million) from Ukrainian oligarch and Swiss resident Ihor Kolomoisky, according to a statement released on Dec.19.
The central bank claimed that Kolomoisky, one of ex-owners of PrivatBank, had served as a guarantor in five refinancing loan agreements before the bank was nationalized in December 2016.
“Since all efforts of the NBU to settle all issues regarding the discharge of Ihor Kolomoisky’s debt under refinancing loans out-of-court failed, the regulator regrettably was forced to file a claim,” the statement read, citing the head of litigation at the NBU legal department, Viktor Hryhorchuk.
He noted that, in early June, the NBU filed 147 claims to the Ukrainian courts against Kolomoisky and 32 companies affiliated with him which had provided collateral for loans.
As of Dec. 18, commercial courts have ruled in 20 cases in favor of the NBU, allowing the regulator to claim the property worth Hr 1.2 billion as debt repayment.
The new lawsuit in Geneva follows PrivatBank’s ongoing legal dispute against Kolomoisky and his business partner Gennadiy Boholyubov in London in a bid to recover part of an estimated $5.5 billion stolen from the bank. Having nationalized the bank two years ago, the Ukrainian government had to fill in the gap with public funds.
Initially, PrivatBank succeeded to have the two oligarchs’ assets frozen — in total, $2.6 billion worldwide. However, in late November an English judge ruled that London was not the right jurisdiction for further proceedings. PrivatBank said it would appeal.