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Media: Court launches bankruptcy case against Ukraine International Airlines

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 22, 2023 3:43 PM 2 min read
Aircraft from Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) seen on the tarmac of Boryspil International airport near Kyiv, Ukraine, 25 April, 2018. (STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Kyiv's Commercial Court on Nov. 22 started bankruptcy proceedings against Ukraine International Airlines (UIA), the country's largest airline, Ukrainska Pravda reported.

The Ukrainian state-owned bank Ukreximbank filed a lawsuit against the airline on Oct. 31, Forbes Ukraine said, adding that the company currently held Hr 20.5 billion ($568 million) in debt.

Forbes previously reported on Oct. 30 that the company's assets were being auctioned off for prices significantly below their market value, citing sources from the airline.

Ukraine's airports ceased to operate for all non-military flights after the beginning of the full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.

Before the war, UIA owned at least 25 planes, 10 of which were in Ukraine at the time of the full-scale invasion, sources told Forbes.

Leasing companies recalled 10 of the planes that were outside of Ukraine. Four of UIA's remaining planes attempted to find new flights in Europe, but this too ceased in September 2022, and no UIA flights have flown since then.

The flights stopped in part because of disputes between two of the primary shareholders, businessman Aron Maiberh and Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky.

Oleksandr Polyanskyi, head of the union of UIA airline pilots, told Forbes that the company does not pay its bills.

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.

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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