On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the Ukrainian government proceeded with searches of properties linked to a high-profile oligarch and officials, the head of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Servant of the People party, David Arakhamia, said.

Properties and documents belonging to politically connected oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky were searched, as well as those of former interior minister Arsen Avakov.

This wave of searches comes days after a number of resignations at various levels in Ukraine’s government. A dozen senior officials, including defense officials and a top aide to the president’s office, were dismissed amid corruption scandals on Jan. 24.

Ihor Kolomoisky, Ukrainian oligarch

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has reportedly searched the house of oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky.

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According to preliminary reports in several Ukrainian media outlets, an investigation might be launched because the businessmen being involved in fraudulent activities in the state-run energy companies Ukrtatnafta and Ukrnafta. In particular, Kolomoisky is allegedly suspected of stealing oil products worth $1.5 billion and evading customs payments.

Ukrnafta produces 90% of the oil in Ukraine and is one of the largest owners of gas stations; Ukrtatnafta owns the country’s largest oil refinery in Kremenchuk. It was suspended shortly after the start of the war due to damage from shelling.

Ihor Kolomoisky was previously a co-owner of both companies, but in November 2022 they were seized by the government and nationalized.

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A Slidstvo-Info investigative journalist who released an unflattering report on Vityuk, was approached in a Kyiv shopping mall on April 1 by military draft officials, sparking corruption accusations.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky explained that the seizure was necessary to “provide for the urgent needs of the defense sector.”

Arsen Avakov, the Former Interior Minister of Ukraine

The house of Ukraine’s former interior minister Arsen Avakov was also searched by the SBU in connection with the Jan. 18 helicopter crash in Brovary, which killed the leadership of Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.

“The search in connection with the helicopter accident has been completed. They [SBU] checked the Airbus contracts from six years ago. They found nothing, obviously. The contracts were approved by the government and the parliament. They were conducted correctly, even if it was meaningless," Avakov said, speaking with the Ukrainska Pravda news outlet.

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Back in 2018, the governments of Ukraine and France signed an agreement on official support in creating a unified system of air force security and civil protection. According to the terms of the agreement, the French side was set to supply Ukraine with 55 Airbus helicopters.

On Jan. 18, 2023, one of those helicopters crashed in Brovary, a suburb of Kyiv, killing 14 people, including Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky.

The SBU has launched an investigation into the causes of the helicopter crash in Brovary. The main theories of the investigation are either a violation of flight safety rules, technical malfunction, or intentional actions.

Oksana Datiy, the head of the Kyiv tax service

The State Bureau of Investigation (DBR), alongside the SBU, also conducted searches at the leadership of the capital’s tax service on Wednesday, Feb. 1, the Ukrainska Pravda outlet reported, citing its own sources in law enforcement.

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The SBU had reportedly uncovered “multimillion-dollar” tax fraud schemes at the Kyiv tax office and accused Datiy of abusing a position of authority.

The dismissal of the Ukrainian Custom Service leadership

The Cabinet of Ministers dismissed Vyacheslav Demchenko, the head of the State Customs Service of Ukraine, and his deputies, Oleksandr Shchutsky and Ruslan Cherkassky, the People’s Deputy of Ukraine Oleksiy Honcharenko reported.

The dismissal comes days after the SBU exposed a corruption scheme at the Zhytomyr customs. The mechanism consisted of the illegal importation of foreign ambulances into Ukraine. Illegal activity of dealers caused damage to the state budget of more than Hr.20 million.

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