Ukraine Billionaire Targetted In Anti-Corruption Raid

Ukraine has launched a fresh wave of anti-corruption raids on high-profile figures, including one of the country’s richest men, Ihor Kolomoisky.

The home of former interior minister Arsen Avakov was also searched, as part of the apparent purge.

Ukraine has launched an anti-corruption drive and officials said the leaders of the customs service had been fired.

President Volodymr Zelensky said raids were necessary to ensure “people do not abuse power”.

Speaking on Wednesday President Zelensky said: “Unfortunately, in some spheres, the only way to guarantee legitimacy is to change leaders along with institutional changes implementation.”

Ukraine has come under increasing pressure from its Western partners, notably the EU, to tackle corruption. 

When Mr Zelensky came to power in 2019 he cited the fight against corruption as one of his main priorities. 

Kyiv is due to host a summit with leading EU officials this week, seen by Ukraine as highly important in its push for membership of the 27-member union. Kyiv was granted EU candidate status four months after Russia’s invasion, but it was urged to do more to tackle corruption.

Ten leading Ukrainian figures resigned last week, as part of the purge, including Mr Zelensky’s deputy head of office Kyrylo Tymoshenko. 

Several deputy ministers and regional governors were also squeezed out. Mr Zelensky said at the time that any internal problems that hindered the state would be cleaned up to help Ukraine’s “rapprochement with European institutions”. 

Mr Kolomoisky is one of Ukraine’s best-known individuals and Ukrainian websites published pictures of detectives searching his home in the south-eastern city of Dnipro as he looked on.