FBI Raids Cleveland Offices of Firm Linked to Ukrainian Oligarch

August 6, 2020 Updated: August 6, 2020

The FBI and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Aug. 4 raided the offices of a company with ties to Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky.

Agents searched the office of real estate firm Optima Management Group in a downtown Cleveland high-rise as part of an ongoing investigation, the FBI stated. No one was taken into custody.

“The Cleveland Division of the FBI, along with our partners at IRS-CID, had law enforcement activity at two locations yesterday,” said FBI special agent Vicki Anderson in an email to The Epoch Times. “One at One Cleveland Center, Cleveland, and the other at Southgate Financial Center, Miami.”

It isn’t clear whose offices were searched in Miami.

“All documents are under seal so no further information can be provided at this time,” Anderson said.

While she said the bureau couldn’t officially confirm that the raid targeted Optima Management, media could see through the first-floor windows “that Optima was [the] office we were in.”

Optima Management is among a number of related entities that are reportedly majority-owned, through one or more intermediaries, by Privat Group, the business conglomerate led by Kolomoisky.

The investigation pertains to financial crimes and money laundering allegations, the Daily Beast reported in April 2019, citing “three people briefed on the probe.” It may be related to allegations that Kolomoisky laundered through U.S. properties hundreds of millions of dollars stolen from PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest bank, at the time when it was co-owned by Kolomoisky.

Kolomoisky earlier denied the allegations.

The bank was confiscated by the Ukrainian government in 2016, citing insolvency and fraud. Kolomoisky denied that and is suing for compensation. The government said it had to bail out the bank with about $5.6 billion, even as the Ukrainian economy was at the time kept afloat by more than $7.6 billion in International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans (pdf).

Kolomoisky said the bank’s loans identified as bad by the government were in fact recoverable, according to Financial Times.

In 2019, the bank raised the fraud and money laundering allegations against Kolomoisky and related businesses and persons, in a Delaware lawsuit that appears to have gone nowhere since then (pdf).

Kolomoisky and his business partner were investigated by Ukrainian authorities for allegedly transferring $1.7 billion from PrivatBank to offshore accounts through an elaborate loan scheme.

He has denied the allegations.

The IMF, which in June promised Ukraine another $5 billion in loans, has insisted PrivatBank nationalization shouldn’t be reversed.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made his fame playing a president on a comedy TV show that ran on a channel owned by Kolomoisky, who backed his candidacy. Zelensky has been accused by opponents of having ties too close to Kolomoisky, which he denies.

Forbes estimates Kolomoisky’s fortune to be $1.1 billion.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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