Justice Department Seeks Forfeiture of Third Commercial Property Purchased with Funds Misappropriated from PrivatBank in Ukraine | OPA

The U.S. Department of Justice today filed a civil forfeiture lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging that commercial real estate in Cleveland, Ohio was acquired with funds raised from PrivatBank in Ukraine one billion euros were misused. Dollar loan program.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kevin Driscoll of the Department of Justice’s Department of Criminal Investigation, US Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida, US Attorney Justin E. Herdman for the Northern District of Ohio, and FBI Special Agent Eric B. Smith in charge in Cleveland the field office made the announcement.

In August 2020, two more civil forfeiture complaints were filed in the southern Florida district pertaining to real estate in Louisville, Kentucky and Dallas, Texas. It was alleged that these properties were also acquired with funds that were misused by PrivatBank in Ukraine. All three properties are due to expire due to violations of federal money laundering laws.

The three complaints allege that Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholiubov, who owned PrivatBank, one of the largest banks in Ukraine, embezzled and defrauded the billionaire bank. The two received fraudulent loans and lines of credit from around 2008 to 2016 when the system was exposed and the bank was nationalized by the National Bank of Ukraine. The complaints allege they laundered some of the proceeds from crime into a number of Shell companies’ bank accounts, primarily in PrivatBank’s Cyprus branch, before transferring the funds to the US. As claimed in the complaint, the loans were rarely repaid except with fraudulently obtained loan proceeds.

As alleged in the complaints, in the US, Kolomoisky and Boholiubov, Mordechai Korf and Uriel Laber employees, who operated from Miami offices, created a network of companies, usually under some variation of the name “Optima” to go on to launder the misappropriated funds and invest them. They bought hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate and businesses across the country, including derelict properties: the 55 Public Square office tower in Cleveland, Ohio, the PNC Plaza office tower in Louisville, and the Dallas office park known as the former CompuCom headquarters . The buildings combined are valued at more than $ 60 million.

A complaint is just an accusation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until found unequivocally guilty in a court of law.

The FBI’s Cleveland Division is investigating the case with the assistance of the FBI’s International Corruption Unit, the IRS Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Mary K. Butler, International Director, Attorney General Michael C. Olmsted, Litigation Attorneys Shai D. Bronshtein and Peter Steciuk, and Clerk Robert Blaney of the Criminal Investigation Department’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Department and U.S. Assistant Attorney Adrienne Rosen Law firm for the Southern District of Florida is handling these cases. The Department of Justice’s International Affairs Bureau provided significant assistance in the investigation.

The Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative is led by a team of dedicated prosecutors in the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Department in collaboration with federal law enforcement and often with U.S. law firms to discard and, where appropriate, the proceeds of corruption by foreign officials to use these recovered assets for the benefit of the people harmed by these acts of corruption and abuse of office. In 2015, the FBI formed international corruption squads nationwide to investigate the national and international effects of foreign corruption. Individuals with information about potential income from foreign corruption in the US or the US should contact federal law enforcement agencies or email [email protected] (link sends an email) or https: // tips. send fbi.gov/. .

2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Ministry of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.