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Appeals court confirms legality of nationalization of PrivatBank

by Nate Ostiller November 15, 2023 5:12 PM 2 min read
A woman passes by PrivatBank 's office in downtown Kyiv on Dec. 15, 2021. (Volodymyr Petrov)
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Ukraine's Sixth Administrative Court of Appeal overturned the decision of lower courts,  confirming the legality of PrivatBank's nationalization and ruling it cannot be regained by its former owners, the National Bank of Ukraine said on Nov. 15.

PrivatBank is Ukraine's largest bank in terms of assets.

"This is a victory for the state," said Oleh Lazovskyi, the head of PrivatBank's legal department. "We hope that today the victory of the state will end the seven-year court process with the ex-owner of PrivatBank."

The decision closed the case, which has dragged on since 2017. PrivatBank, which was formerly owned by oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky and Hennadii Boholiubov, was declared insolvent by Ukraine's National Bank due to its high capital losses and subsequently nationalized in 2016.

A Kyiv court ruled in April 2019 that the nationalization was illegal.

PrivatBank announced in June 2023 that an Israeli court ruled the bank has sufficient grounds for a fraud case against its former owners. The bank claims that the two businessmen misappropriated at least $600 million from its funds in the period from 2007 to 2011.

However, the court also ruled that Israel is not the proper jurisdiction for the case, adding it should be considered in Ukraine. Having been allegedly stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship, Kolomoisky is a citizen of Israel and Cyprus.

Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine's most well-known business tycoons and billionaires, was arrested on Sept. 2 for alleged fraud and money laundering related to his oil and gas holdings.

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) handed Kolomoisky additional criminal charges on Sept. 7, accusing him of embezzling $250 million from PrivatBank in 2015.

Kolomoisky also faces various lawsuits and charges in the U.K., U.S., Israel, and Ukraine.

He is currently in pre-trial detention in Ukraine.

Oligarch Kolomoisky is behind bars. How did he get there and can he find a way out?
Ihor Kolomoisky’s recent arrest is the latest episode in a prolonged, hard-fought slide from grace for one of Ukraine’s most notorious oligarchs. At his height, he governed a region, controlled huge chunks of multiple industries, made good use of his massive TV network, and a cadre of loyal politic…
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