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In a public statement, oligarch Rinat Akhmetov said that his System Capital Management (SCM) group is set to transfer the licenses of the television channels owned by its Media Group Ukraine to the Ukrainian government. The media holding includes Ukraina and Ukraina 24 TV channels, which before the full-scale war were among the most-watched channels in the country.
By doing so, Akhmetov seeks to escape being officially classified as an oligarch in Ukraine.
"As the largest private investor in Ukraine, I have repeatedly said that I was not, am not, and will not be an oligarch," Akhmetov said.
On June 30, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree introducing a register of oligarchs. Akhmetov has been the richest person in Ukraine for over a decade, having influence over a number of pro-Russian parties in the past.
The decree aims to implement the anti-oligarch law signed by Zelensky in 2021. The law introduces the legal definition of an oligarch and requires officials to declare contacts with oligarchs. It also bans oligarchs from financing political parties, political ads, or demonstrations and excludes them from the privatization of state assets.
To be recognized as an oligarch, a person must meet at least three out of four criteria: direct involvement in political activities, considerable influence over media, be a beneficiary of monopolies recognized by antitrust authorities, and ownership of assets exceeding Hr 2.2 billion ($81 million), excluding media assets.