A member of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada has reported that billionaire tycoon and former governor of the Dnepropetrovsk region Ihor Kolomoisky has been spotted attending basketball games in the US this week.
According to a Facebook post from Serhiy Leshchenko, a member of Petro Poroshenko’s parliamentary bloc, Kolomoisky received a single-entry visa from the US authorities for the trip, with the help of a meeting with the US ambassador, and the intervention of Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky of Dnepropetrovsk, a US citizen.
“In exactly what passport Kolomoisky put the visa – Ukrainian, Israeli, or Cypriot – is unknown,” wrote Leshchenko, who added that those traveling with Kolomoisky received ten-year visas for the trip.
In early 2009 it was reported that Kolomoisky had been refused entry to the US, after a file compiled by US Attorney General Michael Mukasey mentioned Kolomoisky in connection with international organized crime, a claim Kolomoisky denied.
The sighting of Kolomoisky abroad is not the first to reach the media since he left Ukraine shortly after resigning his post as governor of the Dnepropetrovsk region in eastern central Ukraine. Earlier this week, Kolomoisky was reportedly seen arriving at Ben-Gurion airport in Israel, where he owns a villa, and which granted him citizenship in the 1990’s.
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According to sources close to the tycoon, who Forbes last year estimated to be worth $1.8 billion, his villa on the banks of Lake Geneva is a likely final destination, to which he fled Ukraine immediately after leaving the government last month.
On March 25, following a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Poroshenko stated he had accepted the resignation of Kolomoisky from his post as governor of the Dnepopetrovsk region.
The announcement came after a standoff that lasted several days, following Kolomoisky’s attempt to reassert his control over the state-owned energy companies Urknafta and UkrTransNafta with the help of a group of armed men; he sought to take control of the companies’ offices by force.
This happened after a March 19 amendment Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada made to the law concerning Joint Stock Companies, which deprived the oligarch of his control over the firms.