Ihor Kolomoyskyi

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Ihor Kolomoyskyi
Ігор Коломойський
Ihor Kolomoyskyi2.jpg
Born (1963-02-13) 13 February 1963 (age 56)
Other namesIgor Kolomoisky
Alma materDnipropetrovsk Metallurgical Institute[4]
OccupationBusinessman, politician
Known forCo-owner of PrivatBank
Owner of FC Dnipro
Net worthUS$1.1 billion (May 2019) [5]
Governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast
In office
2 March 2014[4] – 24 March 2015
Preceded byDmytro Kolesnikov[6][7]
Succeeded byValentyn Reznichenko (acting)[8]

Ihor Valeriyovych Kolomoyskyi (Ukrainian: Ігор Валерійович Коломойський; Russian: Игорь Валерьевич Коломойский, Igor Kolomoisky; Hebrew: איגור קולומויסקי; born 13 February 1963) is a Cypriot-Ukrainian billionaire business oligarch and the former Governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.[9]

Kolomoyskyi is rated as the second or third richest person in Ukraine (after Rinat Akhmetov and/or Viktor Pinchuk) since 2006.[10][11] and 1941st richest person in the world according to the Forbes magazine list of billionaires (as of 2019).[5] In March 2015 The Economist listed his net worth as $1.36 billion.[12] Kolomoyskyi is the leading partner of the Privat Group and a de facto chairman of the FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.[13]

In 2019, Ihor Kolomoyskyi was included in the list of the 100 most influential Ukrainians by Focus magazine, taking the 3rd place.[14]

Early life[edit]

Kolomoyskyi was born in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukrainian SSR, USSR, to a Jewish family of engineers. He graduated from the Dnipropetrovsk Metallurgical Institute in 1985.[1] He is married with two children.[4][15]

Kolomoyskyi is the co-founder of the PrivatBank (and its informal Privat Group, respectively) and was appointed chairman of its board of directors in 1997.[1][13] Other fields of activity include: ferroalloys, finance, oil products, mass media,[15] metal and petroleum industries (also in Russia and Romania).[16]

Kolomoysky has a triple Ukraine-Israel-Cyprus citizenship, despite the law penalizing dual citizenship in Ukraine.[17][18] By way of explanation, Kolomoyskyi stated that: "The constitution prohibits double citizenship but triple citizenship is not forbidden."[19]


The transliteration of Ihor Kolomoyskyi's name into English has numerous variants including Igor, or Ihor for his first name, and Kolomoyskyi, Kolomoysky, Kolomoisky, Kolomoiskiy, or Kolomoyskiy for his surname.

Kolomoyskyi is often nicknamed Benya (Беня)[20] (which is a Russian-Jewish short name popular in the early 20th century) and Bonifatsiy after a character in the popular Soviet animated film "Каникулы Бонифация" ("Bonifacy's holidays") made in 1965 by Soyuzmultfilm, whose image is visually similar to Kolomoyskyi's in appearance and hairstyle.


Through PrivatBank he controlled Aerosvit Airlines, Dniproavia and Donbassaero.[21] Through the asset management company Mansvell Enterprises Limited, he controlled Skyways Express, City Airline, and Cimber Sterling aviation companies.[22] He also has media interests in the 1+1 Media Group, which operates eight Ukrainian TV channels.[12]

Kolomoyskyi is a billionaire listed in 2007 by Forbes as the 799th-richest man in the world (with 3.8 billion dollars,[23] in 2010 Kyiv Post estimated his wealth at $6.243 billion.[24]) In March 2012 Forbes placed him 377th with $3 billion.[10] In 2010 Kyiv Post listed Kolomoyskyi as the second richest person in Ukraine;[24] in 2012 Forbes rated him the third richest person in Ukraine.[10] In these lists Kolomoyskyi has only been surpassed in wealth by Rinat Akhmetov or/and Viktor Pinchuk.[10][11] In March 2015, after the sharp decline in the value of the Ukrainian hryvnia, The Economist listed his net worth as $1.36 billion.[12]

Since 2010 rumors were circulating that Kolomoiskyi's assets were coming under pressure from the authorities.[24] Kolomoiskyi controls his business empire from Switzerland.[25]

Kolomoyskyi has used Privat's "quasi-military forces" to enforce hostile takeovers of companies, sending a team of "hired rowdies armed with baseball bats, iron bars, gas and rubber bullet pistols and chainsaws" to forcibly take over a Kremenchuk steel plant in 2006,[26] and has used "a mix of phony court orders (often involving corrupt judges and/or registrars) and strong-arm tactics" to replace directors on the boards of companies he purchases stakes in.[27] Kolomoyskyi was criticized by Mr Justice Mann in a court case in London involving an attempted hostile takeover of an oil company, with the judge stating that he had "a reputation of having sought to take control of a company at gunpoint in Ukraine" and that a finance director considered she had "strong grounds for doubting the honesty of Mr Kolomoyskyi".[28]

Following the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea the Crimean assets of Kolomoyskyi have been nationalized; according to Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov this was "totally justified due to the fact that he is one of the initiators and financiers of the special anti-terrorist operation in the Eastern Ukraine where Russian citizens are being killed".[29][30] In response Kolomoyskyi has filed a complaint against Russia at the Permanent Court of Arbitration; according to Russia, the court has no jurisdiction over the matter and that it will not participate in proceedings.[31]

Kolomoyskyi and Ukrainian politics[edit]

Analysts have listed Kolomoyskyi as an ally of Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymoshenko and her Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko.[1] Although according to RIA Novosti (in January 2010), Kolomoysky relations with Tymoshenko "were soured some time ago, probably due to his refusal to finance Tymoshenko's election campaign" in 2010.[25][32] Croatian newspaper Nacional claimed in September 2007 that Kolomoyskyi had become an ally of (then) Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko and had financed Yushchenko's Our Ukraine–People's Self-Defense Bloc.[16]

In the 2012 Ukrainian parliamentary election Kolomoyskyi was perceived as being one of UDAR's main sponsors.[25][33] This has been denied by UDAR.[34]

Kolomoyski owns 70% of the 1+1 Media Group whose TV channel 1+1 aired "Servant of the People", the comedy series in which Volodymyr Zelensky played the role of president of Ukraine. On 31 March 2019 Zelensky won the most votes in the first round of Ukraine's real presidential elections,[35] resulting in Yulia Tymoshenko being eliminated from the next round.[36] On April 21, 2019 Zelensky went on to win the presidential election.

Governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast[edit]

On 2 March 2014, amidst the 2014 pro-Russian conflict in Ukraine, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov appointed Kolomoyskyi Governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.[37] Two days later, Russian President Vladimir Putin described Kolomoyskyi as a "unique crook," and said that the citizens of Dnipropetrovsk were not happy with his appointment as Governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.[9] According to Putin, Roman Abramovich has been cheated by Igor Kolomoyskyi. Putin claimed that Kolomoyskyi had reneged on a contract with Abramovich, saying "He [Kolomoyskyi] even managed to cheat our Roman Abramovich two or three years ago. Scammed him, as our intellectuals like to say. They signed some deal, Abramovich transferred several billion dollars, while this guy never delivered and pocketed the money. When I asked him [Abramovich]: "Why did you do it?" he said: "I never thought this was possible."[38] In contrast, The Daily Beast, a US publication, wrote in mid-June 2014 that Kolomoyskyi enjoyed the local population's strong support. "I don't care if he's like Hitler, as long as he prevents war coming here," says a local restaurateur.[39]

In April 2014 Kolomoyskyi offered a bounty for the capture of Russian-backed militants and incentives for the turning in of weapons.[40] He also is believed to have spent $10 million to create the Dnipro Battalion,[39][41] and also funded the Aidar, Azov, Dnepr 1, Dnepr 2, and Donbas volunteer battalions.[42]

Russia is asking for Kolomoyskyi to be put on Interpol's wanted list.[43] On 2 July 2014 a Russian District Court authorized his arrest in absentia for "organizing the killing of civilians".[44]

In March 2015, after the dismissal of Oleksandr Lazorko, who was a protege of Kolomoyskyi, as a chief executive of UkrTransNafta, Ukraine's state-owned oil pipeline operator, men reported to be Kolomoyskyi's personal militia raided the UkrTransNafta's headquarters to expel the new government-appointed chief from the office. While Lazorko was in charge the state-owned pipelines had been delivering oil to an Kolomoisky-owned refinery in preference to competitors.[12][45] According to Kolomoyskyi the raids were done with the aim to protect the companies from raiders and he related to it as a "PR-stunt to improve the ratings of smaller parties".[46]

On March 25, 2015, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree dismissing Kolomoyskyi from the post of Dnipropetrovsk RSA Head, saying "Dnipropetrovsk region must remain a bastion of Ukraine in the East and protect peace". Kolomoyskyi was replaced by Valentyn Reznichenko.[12][47][48]

Jewish politics[edit]

Kolomoyski is a prominent supporter of Ukraine's Jewish community[49] and the president of the United Jewish Community of Ukraine.[50] In 2010, he was appointed as the president of the European Council of Jewish Communities (ECJC)[51] after promising the outgoing president he would donate $14 million,[52] with his appointment being described as a "putsch"[50][51] and a "Soviet-style takeover"[53] by other ECJC board members. After several ECJC board members resigned in protest, Kolomyski quit the ECJC and, together with fellow Ukrainian oligarch Vadim Rabinovich, founded the European Jewish Union.[52]

Fighting against separatism[edit]

On February 22, 2014, he said that separatism would not take place in Dnipropetrovsk. He named Kernes's calling of the "Ukrainian Front" congress a farce and urged politicians to soberly look at the situation and form their position "in the light of the Constitution of Ukraine".[54][55]

On April 17, deputy head of the DODA Filatov stated that Kolomoisky would pay $10,000 for each transferred Russian saboteur. On April 22, deputy head of the National Defense Staff of the Dnipropetrovsk region Mikhail Lysenko informed that Kolomoisky paid 10 thousand US dollars for the arrest of 8 Russian saboteurs.[56]

On June 3, a $500,000 reward was announced for the delivery of Oleg Tsarov, a leader of the separatists, to the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine.[57]

Recent years[edit]

After leaving the Governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast post, Kolomoyskyi obtained a U.S. Visa. He moved to mainly reside in Switzerland, also spending time in the United States.[58]

In 2015 Victor Pinchuk brought a $2 billion civil action against Kolomoyskyi and Gennadiy Bogolyubov in the High Court of Justice in London over the 2004 purchase of a Ukrainian mining company. Allegations made include murder and bribery.[59][60] In January 2016 an undisclosed out of court settlement was reached just before the trial was due to start.[61]

In January 2016 Kolomoyskyi brought a complaint in the Permanent Court of Arbitration against Russia, alleging he was deprived of his right to operate a passenger airport in Crimea after the 2014 annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation.[62][63] A criminal case against Kolomoisky was also started in Russia in January 2016, where he is accused of organizing murders and the use of prohibited methods of warfare.[64]

During its November 2016 party congress Kolomoyskyi was elected into the party leadership of the political party UKROP.[65]

In November 2019, the New York Times reported that Kolomoisky was behind plans to build a controversial ski resort in Svydovets, Ukraine. In the article, a professor at a local university is quoted describing Kolomoisky as "a leech who sucks our blood here and puts it in Switzerland."[66]


In 2016 Ihor Kolomoisky and his business partner Gennadiy Bogolyubov were accused of defrauding Ukraine’s largest bank PrivatBank of billions of dollars. The Ukrainian government nationalized the bank in 2016 after paying off a $5.6 billion bailout. The lawsuit against Kolomoisky was brought by PrivatBank to the High Court in London and initially resulted in freezing $2.6 billion of the oligarch's assets. However, in 2018 the High Court in London ruled that it had no jurisdiction for further proceedings and found that "PrivatBank "fabricated" the case in an attempt to bring a claim in London"[67]

In April 2019, a Ukrainian court ruled that the nationalisation of PrivatBank was illegal.[68][69] Ukraine's central bank said it would not be possible to reverse the nationalisation and that it would appeal the decision.[70] Kolomoisky states that he has no interest in taking over control of the bank and seeks $2bn in compensation for losses he insists were incurred during the nationalisation.[71]


See also[edit]


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