Media Exposes Yet Another Criminal Scheme of Ukrainian Oligarch Ihor Kolomoiskyi

In 2022, on the eve of the full-scale russian invasion of Ukraine, Kolomoiskyi’s company comes up short when it’s time to pay the electricity bill.

Ukrainian media published an extensive investigative material detailing the theft of state funds by the companies owned or controlled by Ihor Kolomoiskyi and his business associates. According to the findings, the criminal roadmap was designed with involvement of Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, head of the state-owned Ukrenergo. That being said, the journalists suspect a more meticulous, full-scale investigation is of little interest to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, created with the guidance and assistance of Ukraine’s Western allies.

In the center of the unveiled scheme is a private company United Energy, one of the major energy sector players of Ukrainian market not so long ago. The end beneficiary is Mykhailo Kiperman, yet the company is in fact in the hands of Ihor Kolomoiskyi, with Kiperman as his trustee.

In 2020, with some help from Kolomoiskyi, one of the oligarch-controlled structure’s employee, the said Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, takes over the high chair at Ukrenergo. It was Ukrenergo that sold electric power to United Energy for further resale.

In 2022, on the eve of the full-scale russian invasion of Ukraine, Kolomoiskyi’s company comes up short when it’s time to pay the electricity bill. His enterprise receives roughly $50m worth of electric power, sells them over, but does not pay Ukrenergo back.

Meanwhile, this business outfit has been long labeled as “default” at this point. Ukrenergo’s management, however, in no way reacts to Kolomoiskyi’s enterprise pocketing the state-controlled resources, all is good. This episode coincides with the russian army circling the Ukrainian capital city, with nothing good in store for the entire country.

As the Ukrainian defenders kicked out the russian occupiers from the Kyiv outskirts, the Ukrenergo’s boss Volodymyr Kudrytskyi was in quite a pickle – he had to somehow reason why Ihor Kolomoiskyi’s company that was basically gifted $50m worth of electricity paid in return. The management of Ukrenergo passed the buck, and the guarantor bank Alliance ended up as a scapegoat.

A bank guarantee is another, the third safety net applicable only if the guarantee terms have not been violated. This makes sense, as banks should not be held liable for the crimes of parties to transactions.

In March 2022, Alliance refused to pay for the criminal scheme, and initiated a criminal investigation on the grounds of fraud. But Ukrenergo retaliated by suing the bank, demanding that Alliance shells out the cash owed by United Energy. 

As the investigation went on, some bizarre events unfolded. National Anti-Corruption Bureau somehow failed to notice the Ukrenergo’s two top managers in charge of the mentioned deal leaving abroad; one of the two is Dmytro Kondrashov, the department head of Ukrenergo. He left Ukraine in 2022, his trip sanctioned by the Ukrenergo’s Market Operations Director, Mykyta Vyshnevskyi, who also hit road in 2023. His travels were signed off by none other but Volodymyr Kudrytskyi himself.

Then, some events happened, which should have significantly impacted the investigation, namely:

State Audit Service of Ukraine, a designated supervisory body, inspected Ukrenergo and discovered violations amounting to $1.7b. The auditors claimed it is the Ukrenergo’s management who is to blame for untimely stoppage of electricity supplies to United Energy, and further failure to compensate the provided resources and damages to the state-owned Ukrenergo.

Still, the mentioned facts are thoroughly ignored by the NABU. At the end of the day, Ihor Kolomoiskyi, the ultimate beneficiary of United Energy, goes scot-free in this particular case. Mykhailo Kiperman, Kolomoiskyi’s junior partner, is also unscathed. Kudrytskyi and his runaway managers – still at large, unpunished.

Still, there is an appointed culprit, the bank that, according to the people behind the entire scheme, must reimburse the pocketed money, so that someone could put a “case closed” stamp in the file and be on their way to new challenges.