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Ukrainian billionaire and former Zelenskyy ally detained for fraud

Ukrainian billionaire businessman Ihor Kolomoisky looks on as he attends a court hearing at Shevchenkivsky District Court in Kyiv on 2 September
Ukrainian billionaire businessman Ihor Kolomoisky looks on as he attends a court hearing at Shevchenkivsky District Court in Kyiv on 2 September Copyright AFP
Copyright AFP
By Euronews with AFP
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Ihor Kolomoisky is the latest target of the country's anti-corruption drive.

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A court in Kiev has ordered the detention of Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky, formerly close to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, on suspicion of fraud and money laundering.

According to local media reports on Sunday, the 60-year-old tycoon will be detained for two months.

One of the country's richest men, Kolomoisky appeared late on Saturday evening wearing a yellow T-shirt and blue jacket, the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

Radio Svoboda have reported that, at the end of his hearing, the court decided to take a "preventive measure" by ordering Kolomoisky's incarceration for two months and setting his bail at more than 509 million Ukrainian hryvnias (approximately €12.7 million euros).

According to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the billionaire is suspected of fraud and illegal acquisition of property.

Kolomoisky supported the 2019 candidacy of Zelenskyy and also owned the television channel on which the Ukrainian president rose to fame as a comedian.

In recent months, President Zelenskyy has promised to strengthen the fight against corruption, which was endemic in Ukraine before the Russian invasion, in response in particular to the conditions set by the European Union to maintain Kiev's status as a candidate for membership.

Several corruption scandals have recently come to light in the country. One of them involves Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiï Reznikov and concerns a contract for army supplies signed with a Turkish company.

More than 200 military enlistment centres were also raided at the end of August in Ukraine to eradicate a system of corruption allowing conscripts to escape the army.

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