Billionaire Akhmetov claims “I’m not an oligarch” in new interview
Rinat Akhmetov (Photo:@metinvest.media)
Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov has criticized the so-called “anti-oligarch law,” claiming he quit politics almost 10 years before its adoption, he told the Washington Post newspaper on Dec. 8.
“Neither the United States nor the E.U. has a law on ‘oligarchs’ that would allow making unlawful lists of undesirables through extrajudicial procedures,” he said.
“Instead, they have a law on lobbying in place.”
According to Akhmetov, “relations with business should be regulated in a civilized way followed by all developed countries, rather than through populist laws.”
At the same time, the billionaire disputed being called an oligarch.
“I’m not an oligarch,” he said.
“I have never been and I’m not going to be an oligarch. I’m the biggest private investor, employer, and taxpayer in Ukraine.”
Akhmetov also stressed that the requirements of this law don’t apply to him.
“I quit politics in 2012, long before the law entered into force, and I don’t plan to come back into politics,” he said.
Akhmetov owned two major Ukrainian television and news channels – Ukraine and Ukraine 24 – until July of this year, when he transferred ownership to a new media holding.
Rostyslav Shurma, a close economic aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who previously worked for many years as a top executive in Akhmetov’s steel company, Metinvest, said there will still be room in the economy for major companies that dominate key sectors, including steel production, after the war.
“It is absolutely critical that we have strong businessmen, we have national champions, global champions,” he said.
“But they should not interfere in politics.”
Zelenskyy signed into law a bill intended to curb the political influence of the country’s oligarchs in early November 2021. The law provided a legal status to the designation of ‘oligarch’, and has been used to push forward “de-oligarchization” reforms.
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