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President quarreled with oligarch: What happens between Zelensky and Kolomoysky?

Author : Natalia Lebed

Are Zelensky and Kolomoysky entering a phase of high-profile confrontation?
14:45, 29 November 2019

24 Channel

The National Bank claims that oligarch Ihor Kolomoysky is terrorizing it, Prosecutor General Ryaboshapka fires prosecutor Kulyk (who is considered to be Kolomoysky’s person), and President Zelensky reminds that he is the head of state during his visit to Tallinn.

Does all this mean that Zelensky and Kolomoysky are entering a phase of high-profile confrontation?

Bohdan Petrenko, deputy director of the Ukrainian Institute for the Study of Extremism, says that “Zelensky’s and Kolomoysky’s quarrel is a matter of time. The President’s Office, of course, is developing strategies on how to counter Kolomoysky. One of the strategies may be the following: power does not create obstacles for him but does not help him in his affairs. But, obviously, this is not enough for our foreign partners. It is important for them to reduce Kolomoysky’s presence in power, including through “his own” people, ”Petrenko is convinced.

Related: Ukrainian oligarch Kolomoysky claims Russian tanks will be stationed near Krakow, Warsaw

All in!

October 15, Ihor Kolomoysky lost an appeal in a London court. According to the decision of the British Themis, former owners of PrivatBank Ihor Kolomoysky, Hennadiy Bogolyubov and other defendants should pay the bank 10.9 million pounds.

As for the Ukrainian courts, where the oligarch disputes the nationalization of PrivatBank, then, if we do not take into account a number of interim decisions, the final point, in this case, is not set in the courts. Kolomoysky himself claims that he will regain his former property.

Meanwhile, rallies and pickets continue near the National Bank (NBU) building. The slogans of the protesters look rather vague, because they are not connected with PrivatBank, but only with the demand "to stop corruption in the NBU." At the same time, the head of the NBU, Yakiv Smoliy, is convinced that the ex-owner of Privat Kolomoysky and the MP from the Servant of the People, Oleksandr Dubinsky, controlled by the oligarch, are the organizers of such meetings.

The latter is a member of the financial committee of the Verkhovna Rada, and when the other day the committee discussed the situation with the National Bank rallied, Dubinsky expressed support for the protesters.

Related: Kolomoysky is not a representative of government and Zelensky's team, - Zelensky's press secretary

And such support is not limited to verbal approval, Yakov Smoliy is convinced. "We filed a complaint with law enforcement agencies that the rallies were paid. We have witnesses, there are recorded moments of people being paid for participating in the rally here," he says.

The IMF expects to receive guarantees from the state regarding the preservation of the current status of PrivatBank. So at least ex-MP Serhiy Leshchenko claims in his Telegram channel.

Watch those hands

"The question of PrivatBank remains relevant for Kolomoysky, but this is not his main goal. But he perfectly distracts everyone - society, experts, journalists - from Kolomoisky’s interests in other matters, that is, from his interest in the metallurgical and petroleum products sectors. And his expansion in these areas is intensifying, while everyone is busy with the ostentatious struggle of Kolomoysky around PrivatBank. In fact, he will be satisfied with the option that he should not be persecuted and that he could restore all his positions and become the head of a key financial and political group - at least for the time of Zelensky’s presidency," Ruslan Bortnyk, director of the Ukrainian Institute for Policy Analysis and Management, notes.

 “Attempts to return PrivatBank are rather a screen behind which Kolomoysky’s attempt is being made to increase his control over other areas. Kolomoysky’s goal is not to return PrivatBank, but to reimburse himself. His two billion he will try to “repel,” if not in banking, then in other areas.”

Related: IMF knows that PrivatBank will be returned soon, - Kolomoysky

One can agree and not with the fact that Kolomoysky uses PrivatBank to divert attention. But these assets are part of the Privat conditional group and are now arrested. Not all, but only those that are directly recorded on the billionaire or are involved in schemes for withdrawing money from PrivatBank. Other assets are prudently taken offshore or recorded as trusted persons.

Therefore, if we talk about real interest of oligarch Kolomoysky, then we should think globally. “His appetites are such that he wants to become the number one oligarch in Ukraine and benefit from both privatization and possible default. He wants to participate in key negotiations with Russia and the USA, to seek the closure of criminal cases against himself. All Zelensky is simply physically cannot provide this," political analyst Kyrylo Sazonov assures.

“Kolomoysky is betting that the Ukrainian courts will make decisions in his favor, and he will simply ignore the verdicts of London or other courts,” he adds

Kulyk episode

Nevertheless, Kolomoysky remains a very influential player. He won’t even notice the loss of “his” people - prosecutor Kostyantyn Kulyk mentioned above. “Regarding Kulyk, the influence of Kolomoysky is so significant that the loss of one person does not play a big role. He already has the ability to influence the whole system,” Bogdan Petrenko is convinced.

Related: Privatbank lawyers offered Giuliani to join civilian process against Kolomoysky

“Speaking about Kulyk, here we have some separate background. There is such a powerful toxic character that he was dismissed quite naturally and without any attachment to Kolomoysky,” Sazonov adds.

Kulyk is a very interesting person. Formally, he left the walls of the prosecutor's office due to the fact that he did not pass re-certification. Prosecutor General Ryaboshapka said it. At the same time, Kolomoysky allegedly actively opposed Kulyk’s dismissal from the prosecutor’s office, Leshchenko noted.

Kulyk has been involved in numerous criminal charges since 2016. Three years ago, he was charged with illegal enrichment in the amount of 116,000 USD. In particular, a number of real estate objects in the center of Kyiv were registered for the relatives of the prosecutor. Subsequently, however, the article on illicit enrichment was decriminalized.

The new scandal surrounding the prosecutor is due to the fact that Kulyk illegally built an additional floor of several hundred square meters in the elite residential complex Diplomat Hall in Kyiv. However, the scandalous prosecutor did not receive fame for this reason.

Related: Kolomoysky saves Prosecutor Kulyk through his transfer to the Security Service of Ukraine, - expert

What's next?

But Igor Kolomoysky is a block that simply cannot be moved. “His group is quite strong in parliament and in the President’s Office. It affects governor appointments and will continue to influence politics in the state at a fairly high level,” Bortnyk assures.

“At the same time, his appetites exceed what Zelensky can really give him. And what is happening near the National Bank amid the second departure of the IMF’s mission is just tin. The president is not happy that Kolomoysky is raising rates and wants to get too lot,” Sazonov notes.

The parliamentary factor in relations between Zelensky and Kolomoisky will play a significant role in how the Verkhovna Rada will vote in the near future. "If the crisis of relations between Kolomoysky and the authorities begins to intensify, then I do not exclude that this will create quite serious problems within the party in power and may lead to sabotage of the most important decisions in power," Bortnyk sums up.

Related: National Bank’s board claims about pressure applied by oligarch Kolomoysky

In the meantime, a number of crucial issues is on the agenda of the Verkhovna Rada. I mean the second reading of the draft law on the land market, the second reading of the draft law on the State Bureau of Investigation, and the scandalous media code, which causes many complaints.

The success of parliamentary adoption of these and other laws would show who currently holds the "golden share" and whether it exists at all. We will learn about all this starting from the next plenary week, which will open next Tuesday.

Related: Zelensky cannot decide who is more important: Kolomoisky or the IMF

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