Ukrainian state security officials searched the home of billionaire businessman Ihor Kolomoiskiy on Wednesday in what several media outlets said was an investigation into possible financial crimes.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the reports, and Kolomoiskiy could not be reached for comment.
A senior ruling party official confirmed that Kolomoiskiy’s home, as well as that of a former interior minister, had been searched, but did not explain the reason for the search.
Photos circulating on social media appeared to show a tracksuit-clad Kolomoiskiy observing the presence of at least one SBU officer inside a large wooden house. Reuters could not immediately verify the authenticity of the images.
Kolomoiskiy is one of Ukraine’s richest men and a former ally of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who launched a crackdown on wealthy businessmen known as “oligarchs” in late 2021, before Russia launched its full-scale invasion.
Kolomoiskiy, who is from the central city of Dnipro and owns a variety of assets, including one of Ukraine’s most influential TV channels, backed Zelenskiy’s election campaign in 2019.
Ukrainska Pravda said Wednesday’s search was related to an investigation into alleged embezzlement of petroleum products and evasion of customs duties, and was carried out by the SBU and the Ukrainian Economic Security Office.
Ukrainian anti-corruption officials are also investigating a case in which they suspect eight people embezzled assets and funds from a state-controlled oil company formerly linked to Kolomoiskiy.
The United States sanctioned him in 2021 “for his involvement in significant corruption.” US authorities also alleged that Kolomoiskiy and a business associate laundered stolen funds through the United States. Kolomoiskiy has denied any wrongdoing.