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Details emerge of alleged contract hit ordered by ex-Zelensky mentor

The Ukrainian government has accused businessman Igor Kolomoysky of attempting to arrange the murder of a lawyer in 2003

Ukrainian media have published new details about a criminal case against businessman Igor Kolomoysky, who was charged with ordering a contract killing over two decades ago.

The mogul is believed to have played a key role in Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky’s rise to power. Prior to running for the presidency in 2019, Zelensky had a comedy show platformed by a Kolomoysky-controlled media holding.

Ukrainian authorities placed Kolomoysky in pre-trial detention last September over alleged financial crimes and have since added fresh charges, including in May.

The most recent statement on the case alleged that in 2003 “a famous businessman” hired a gang to exact revenge against a lawyer for rejecting his demand to overturn the outcome of a shareholder meeting. The gang assaulted its target but failed to kill him, the office of Ukraine’s prosecutor general said. It did not name Kolomoysky, although a photo of the accused clearly showed the businessman.

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On Tuesday, the Ukrainsky Novini (Ukrainian News) media outlet claimed to have access to the court papers and shared more details of the allegations against Kolomoysky. According to prosecutors, he engaged the gang through a bodyguard. They initially targeted the wrong man, badly beating him, but eventually made an attempt on the lawyer’s life. They failed to kill him “due to circumstances outside of their control,” the case stated.

The victim was identified in the documents as working for businessman Victor Pinchuk, the son-in-law of then-President Leonid Kuchma. The details coincide with the circumstances of the 2003 assault against lawyer Sergey Karpenko, for which Kolomoysky was investigated in 2005.

According to reports in the Ukrainian media, Karpenko was involved in the fight for ownership of the metal plant Dneprospetsstal and opposed Kolomoysky’s attempts to seize control. Kolomoysky allegedly asked his bodyguard, a man surnamed Nikitin, to hire a group of criminals to carry out retaliation. They reportedly first attacked Karpenko’s business partner and later the lawyer himself, using metal rods, hammers, and knives in both assaults.

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In 2005, Ukrainian prosecutors opened a criminal case against Kolomoysky. In a bizarre twist, a request for an arrest warrant was recalled by the prosecutor general’s office a day after it was filed. The investigation was closed several months later.

Some in Ukraine had expected the case to reemerge at the High Court in London, which in 2015 was due to hear an ownership dispute between Pinchuk, Kolomoysky, and a third Ukrainian businessman. The row was settled out of court.

June 19, 2024 at 01:42PM

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