FBI raids offices at downtown One Cleveland Center building tied to Ukrainian oligarch
CLEVELAND, Ohio — The FBI on Tuesday raided the Cleveland offices of a real estate company tied to a Ukrainian oligarch that owns several downtown buildings.
FBI spokeswoman Vicki Anderson said agents were searching the offices of the Optima Management Group in One Cleveland Center at East 9th Street and St. Clair Avenue. Optima is a conglomerate of companies across the United States that has interests in real estate in Cleveland, including One Cleveland Center and the 55 Public Square Building.
Optima’s offices are visible from an entrance and windows on the side of One Cleveland Center, and on Tuesday multiple agents were seen carrying and moving computers, boxes and other items in the office. The plaza in front of the building was otherwise relatively quiet.
Anderson said agents also executed search warrants at an office in Miami.
Federal authorities in Cleveland have been conducting a wide-ranging probe involving Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky that has been ongoing for quite some time. Kolomoisky is a principal of the Privat Group, a large Ukrainian business company, and principals of the company are also part of Optima.
Optima had a much larger presence in Cleveland about a decade ago when it bought several buildings under the leadership of executive Chaim Schochet. Its presence in Northeast Ohio has dwindled in recent years.
Optima also controlled Warren Steel Holdings, a mill northwest of Youngstown that closed in 2016.
Kolomoisky and a fellow Ukrainian billionaire formed PrivatBank in the early 1990s. It became one of the Ukraine’s key financial institutions, according to Forbes. The Ukrainian government nationalized the bank in 2016 after an investigation suggested there was large-scale fraud over a decade-long period, Forbes reported.
The financial news outlet places Kolomoisky’s net worth at about $1 billion. The Daily Beast, citing The Financial Times, previously reported that he lives in Tel Aviv and remains a complicated political figure in his home country. He is a former governor of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region.
Published reports said that Kolomoisky had refused to set up a meeting with President Donald Trump’s ally Rudy Giuliani and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in an attempt to dig up dirt against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden last year.
Kolomoisky’s attorney Michael Sullivan could not be reached for comment.