Yet another investigative report alleged ties between comedian and presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy and oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky.

The report depicted frequent travels of Zelenskiy to and from Geneva and Tel-Aviv, cities where Kolomoisky resides for the past two years.

Schemes, an investigative TV series by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, aired on April 11, showing how Zelenskiy traveled a total of 11 times to Geneva and an additional two times to Tel-Aviv, where Kolomoisky took shelter, after his main asset PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest bank, was nationalized by the government, following by cases alleging that Kolomoisky together with his business partner Gennady Bogolyubov cashed out billions of dollars from PrivatBank prior to nationalization.

According to Schemes, Zelenskiy began flying to Geneva on a regular basis from February 2017, when Kolomoisky permanently moved to the city due to legal action against him in Ukraine.

A screenshot from the Schemes TV program, aired on April 11, depicting 11 commutes between Kyiv and Geneva taken by Zelenskiy between February 2017 and June 2018.

Flights to Geneva occurred on a regular basis, until June 2018, when Kolomoisky moved from Geneva to Tel-Aviv. Later Zelenskiy began flying to Tel-Aviv, with Schemes finding at least three private flights to and from Tel-Aviv in October, November and December of 2018.

Another, noteworthy fact is the people with whom Zelenskiy allegedly flew.

A regular travel companion of Zelenskiy was Andriy Bohdan, Kolomoisky’s lawyer. Bohdan was Kolomoisky’s adviser in 2014 when the oligarch served as a governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. In 2016, Bohdan represented in court Kolomoysky’s ally, Hennadiy Korban, who was charged with kidnapping and organized crime.

Kolomoisky acknowledged the fact that Bohdan is his lawyer, yet stated that he might be working for other people as well.

Dmytro Rozumkov, an official representative of Zelenskiy, stated that Bohdan is a personal friend of Zelenskiy and that’s the reason why Bogdan was seen multiple times together with Zelenskiy both in private and in public, during his campaign.

Journalists from the Nashi Groshi, revealed on April 8, that Bohdan was sent as a representative of Zelenskiy to meet with Artem Sytnyk, the head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, or NABU for short, on April 3. The fact was later confirmed by NABU.


Other travel companions of Zelenskiy on his way to Geneva and Tel-Aviv, according to Schemes, where Kolomoisky’s longtime business partner Bogolyubov, a close friend of Kolomoisky Timur Myndych, who’s son’s Bar Mitzvah was attended by the oligarch.

Other people sharing a plane with Zelenskiy included the Surkis brothers, Hryhoriy and Ihor, businessman who were recently a part of a separate investigation by Schemes, in which both were alleged of corruption.

Kolomoisky, answering to Schemes journalist, on Zelenskiy’s frequent visits to Geneva and Tel-Aviv, stated that he remembers Zelenskiy being present in Geneva on his own birthday party, which also included the Surkis brothers and Pavlo Fuks, a Russian-Ukrainian businessman alleged by Al Jazeera, Qatar state-owned news agency, that he was doing business with Serhiy Kurchenko, a rogue businessman closely linked to the ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.

Both Kurchenko and Yanukovych took shelter in Russia and are unavailable for comment, while the Surkis brothers denied to respond to journalists from Schemes.


The investigative report by Schemes adds to other fact linking oligarch Kolomoisky to Zelenskiy. Zelenskiy’s TV shows have been running on Kolomoisky’s 1+1 channel for the past couple of years, with the channel taking an active pro Zelenskiy stance during the March 31 presidential elections, in which Zelenskiy received over 30 percent of popular vote and advanced to the second round together with incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, who received just under 16 percent of the vote.

Poroshenko and Kolomoisky appear to be in an open conflict, with the later saying that he is hoping that Poroshenko will be voted out of office.

The second round of Ukraine’s presidential elections is scheduled to take place on April 21.

Kolomoisky is facing multiple legal troubles, with cases against him filed in Kyiv, London and Geneva.

In early 2018, a forensic audit by Kroll, a New York-based consulting firm hired by PrivatBank, uncovered a “large-scale and coordinated fraud” scheme that emptied $5.5 billion from the bank’s vaults, the NBU said in a statement.

In December 2017, PrivatBank through London’s High Court of Justice sued Kolomoisky and Bogolyubov, accusing the two of fraud and demanding a $2.5 billion in compensation. In December 2018 the court ruled that the case was not under its jurisdiction: PrivatBank has appealed.


In December 2018, Ukraine’s central bank filed a lawsuit against Kolomoisky in Switzerland, demanding that the oligarch repay Hr 6.64 billion ($238 million).

In Ukraine, Kolomoisky also faces legal problems, with Kyiv’s Pechersk District Court recently ordering the arrest of assets belonging to a number of companies connected to the former owners of PrivatBank. The order was issued under a criminal case opened earlier on the embezzlement of over Hr 19 billion ($700 million) in refinancing funds issued to PrivatBank by the NBU.

Serhiy Leshchenko, independent lawmaker and advisor to Zelenskiy, in an April 11 interview to Hromadske, an online news agency, stated that the link between Kolomoisky and Zelenskiy was never a secret.

“Nobody hid those contacts, they are publicly accessible and absolutely understandable. It’s a collaboration that has objective and subjective reasons,” said Leshchenko.

Zelenskiy on multiple occasions stated publicly that he has neutral relations with Kolomoisky, while his political opponents frequently stated that the comedian turned politician is under the oligarch’s influence.

Editor’s note: This story mistakenly said Volodymyr Zelenskiy traveled to Geneva and Tel-Aviv 14 times. It was later corrected to 13 times.  

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