By Roman Woronowycz.
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Jan. 20 that it had filed another civil forfeiture complaint against Ukrainian billionaire tycoon Igor Kolomoisky.
The DOJ statement alleges that Kolomoisky used money stolen through embezzlement and fraud from Ukraine’s Privat Bank, which he owned until the National Bank of Ukraine re-nationalized the property in 2018 when it became apparent that Privat Bank was woefully under-capitalized.
The complaint says that Kolomoisky used more than $6 million of those funds to purchase, improve and then resell property in Dallas, Texas. The profit from the sale of that property is subject to forfeiture based on violations of federal money laundering statutes.
This is the fourth civil forfeiture action the DOJ has filed against Kolomoisky and his business partner, Gennadiy Boholiubov. All four complaints allege that during 2008-2016 Kolomoisky Boholiubov embezzled and defrauded Privat Bank, the largest bank in Ukraine at the time, of billions of dollars by obtaining illegal loans and lines of credit primarily through Privat Bank’s Cyprus branch. The National Bank of Ukraine privatized Privat Bank in 2016, which was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, after it uncovered Kolomoisky’s illegal schemes.
Using middlemen in his U.S. Miami offices, Kolomoisky created a series of companies, most with variations on the name, “Optima,” which laundered the stolen money through multi-million dollar purchases of U.S. businesses and real estate. One of those purchases was for Stemmons Towers in Dallas, Texas, which is the subject of the current complaint.
The DOJ complaint alleges that “several of the Optima entities, including Optima Ventures LLC, Optima 7171 LLC, and Optima Stemmons LLC, used profits from the CompuCom Headquarters (also the subject of a DOJ forfeiture action), which had originally been purchased using embezzled funds from Privat Bank, to pay for the improvement and maintenance of Stemmons Tower. Optima Stemmons then sold Stemmons Tower in 2019 using a seller financing agreement, under which more than $6 million in principal and interest is still owed to a specially created entity owned by Optima Ventures.”
Previously, the DOJ had filed complaints against Kolomoisky and Boholiubov for using illegally obtained money to purchase the the Dallas office park known as CompuCom Headquarters, a Louisville, Kentucky, office tower known as PNC Plaza, and a building in Cleveland, Ohio, known as 55 Public Square.
The Kyiv Post was not able to reach Optima Stemmons for a response.
The FBI’s Cleveland office made the announcement of the latest charges against Kolomoisky and continues to work on the case in cooperation with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
(c) Kyiv Post