Detained, charged last week, Kolomoisky's complex citizenship status casts doubt over whether US can extradite him

5 September, 12:55 PM
Ihor Kolomoisky during the court session, September 2, 2023 (Photo:REUTERS/Vladyslav Musiienko)

Ihor Kolomoisky during the court session, September 2, 2023 (Photo:REUTERS/Vladyslav Musiienko)

As questions swirl over the possibility of Ukraine extraditing oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky to face charges in the United States, Oleksandr Martynenko, CEO of news agency Interfax-Ukraine, has spoken on Radio NV about Kolomoisky's ongoing legal troubles. 

Detained and charged under two articles of Ukraine's Criminal Code last week, Kolomoisky's complex citizenship status has cast uncertainty over whether Ukraine could hand him over to foreign authorities, a topic Martynenko addressed during a Radio NV broadcast on Sept. 4.

Ukraine’s SBU Security Service, the Economic Security Bureau, and the Prosecutor General's Office pressed charges against Kolomoisky on Sept. 2 under Articles 190 (21) and 209 (23) of the Criminal Code. The charges are fraud (taking possession of another's property or acquiring the right to property by fraud or breach of trust) and legalization (laundering) of the proceeds of crime.

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A Kyiv court on Sept. 3 imposed a pre-trial restraint on Kolomoisky in the form of detention for 60 days with the possibility of bail of UAH 509 million ($13.7 million). In addition, Kolomoisky must hand over all relevant documents and not communicate with witnesses.

His lawyers can appeal the decision within five days of the court ruling.

However, Kolomoisky does not want to post bail, his lawyers said. According to the oligarch's lawyers, the court hearing was held with a number of violations, and they were not given time to collect materials in the case, so they are currently preparing an appeal.

But could Ukraine hand Kolomoisky over to the United States, NV asked Martynenko.

“Logically, if we consider him a citizen of four countries, then yes,” Martynenko said.

“But we've been looking into this in recent days and wondering if there is any proof that Kolomoisky does not have Ukrainian citizenship. I haven’t seen it yet. When a person is a citizen of four countries at the same time, the question arises: how do you consider him? As whom? In the court materials, all the materials that have now been submitted to the court, Kolomoisky was indicated as having the citizenships of Cyprus and Israel.

“I'm not sure that a Ukrainian passport might emerge from somewhere. Well, in any form, in any scenario, you know, we will see. If, not ‘when’, but ‘if’, there are charges, and if the U.S. documents are there, and there is an extradition request. So far, I know that he was very afraid of this, of an extradition request. And that's why he stayed in Ukraine all this time without crossing the borders.

“That’s because he believed that if he crossed the border, he would be immediately arrested by FBI investigators. It’s theoretically possible, of course, but I don't think it's a reality now. For now, I think that in the near future, we will be dealing with Ihor Kolomoisky in the Ukrainian courts, with Ukrainian investigators.”

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