Almost like a thriller

Billionaire oligarch “fled” to Vienna

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11.07.2024 11:29

The Ukrainian oligarch Hennadij Boholjubow has apparently recently fled to Vienna in an almost cinematic manner. An investigation has been opened in Ukraine into an illegal border crossing - the billionaire businessman now wants to come clean about an alleged blackmail operation.

Boholjubow is considered to be one of the richest Ukrainians - as Ukrainian media report, he probably wants to use his "escape" to evade possible prosecution in his home country. "The oligarch left the country on June 24, 2024, accompanied by a close relative on the train 'Kiev - Chełm' (to Poland, note), although according to Ukrainian databases he did not cross the border," it said in a press release from the state investigation office DBR.

Leaving the country with a foreign passport
Boholyubov had used an invalid passport of a Ukrainian who was in the country and had not left Ukraine, the authorities said, explaining the initiation of an investigation into the illegal crossing of the border and the confiscation of the passport in question.

There was also talk of the arrest of a border guard officer involved. However, Boholjubov's subsequent entry into Poland was carried out regularly with his own passport, reported the online medium "Ukrajinska Prawda" with reference to leaked documents.

Oligarch: "I don't know where I will live"
 After a stay in the UK, where the 62-year-old businessman visited his sick mother, he said he traveled on to Vienna on Tuesday: "I flew to Vienna today, but I don't know where I will live," Boholyubov said in a telephone interview with "Ukrajinska Pravda" published on Wednesday night.

He denied that he had left the country with a false passport, but also reported that he had already had problems leaving his home country in 2023: During an attempted border crossing, his passport had been confiscated and destroyed on suspicion of forgery, while another attempt last year had worked out after initial problems. According to "Ukrajinska Prawda", the head of the Ukrainian border guard in Kiev personally intervened on the oligarch's behalf.

Business partner already in custody
Boholyubov, who was estimated by the Ukrainian Forbes magazine to have a fortune of one billion dollars in 2022, is a long-time associate of the formerly extremely influential oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi, whose TV channel "1+1" played an important role in the election of Volodymyr Zelenskyi as president.

In 2019, both entrepreneurs were also suspected of corruption by the US, and independently of this, Kolomoyskyi has been in pre-trial detention in Ukraine since September 2023 in connection with alleged economic crimes. The allegations relate, among other things, to PrivatBank, which was forcibly nationalized in 2016 and was previously owned 50 percent each by Kolomoyskyi and Boholyubov. The latter had not previously been officially investigated.

Boholyubov wants to come clean about alleged blackmail
"Mr. Boholyubov plans to publish information according to which it was suggested to him that no criminal proceedings would be initiated against him in Ukraine if he paid 100 million dollars," wrote the weekly newspaper "Dzerkalo Tyshnya" (zn.ua) on Tuesday, citing anonymous sources. The online medium also reported on a conflict with President Zelensky's office, which had refused to issue the businessman with a diplomatic passport.

As the husband of diplomat Emine Dzhaparova, Boholyubov had actually wanted to move to Austria with her at the end of March. Former Deputy Foreign Minister Dzhaparova was appointed Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the international organizations in Vienna by Zelenskyi in February 2024, but has not yet taken up this post.

This article has been automatically translated,
read the original article here.

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