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14 July, 2024
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Billionaire's great escape? Kolomoiskyi's Cyprus flight sparks alarm

Ukraine nervously awaits Kolomoiskyi's next move


In a twist of legal intricacies, Ukrainian authorities are on high alert following the release of billionaire oligarch Ihor Kolomoiskyi.

Recent reports from the Ukrainian News agency suggest concerns over his potential escape to Cyprus, a fear underscored by prosecutors who worry about the challenges in ensuring his extradition according to a Philenews report.

The crux of the matter lies in the reservation maintained by the Republic of Cyprus in the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 1959. This clause allows Cyprus to refuse the extradition of its nationals, presenting a potential loophole for Kolomoiskyi to evade Ukrainian legal pursuits.

Court documents reveal the intricacies of this legal labyrinth. "The Government of the Republic of Cyprus reserves the right to refuse the extradition of its nationals," the documents state, emphasizing that Kolomoiskyi, now without Ukrainian citizenship, could find refuge in Cyprus as a citizen of that country. This scenario raises questions about the effectiveness of extradition requests, should they be initiated by Ukrainian authorities.

The Kyiv Court of Appeal, while officially confirming the loss of Kolomoiskyi's Ukrainian citizenship, has formally recognized him solely as a citizen of Israel and Cyprus, leaving his legal status hanging in a complex balance. This development adds layers of complexity to an already convoluted legal saga.

Internationally known for his role during Ukraine's tumultuous period, especially during the Euromaidan protests and the conflict with Russia, Kolomoiskyi faces a troubled past. Indicted in the United States in 2020 on charges related to large-scale bank fraud, he and his family were banned from entering the country in 2021, with accusations of corruption and threats to Ukrainian democratic institutions.

President Zelenskyy's decision to strip Kolomoiskyi of his Ukrainian citizenship in 2022 further fueled tensions. In 2023, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) arrested him on charges of money laundering and fraud, leading to his current pre-trial detention.

As legal complexities intertwine with geopolitical implications, the fate of Ihor Kolomoiskyi remains uncertain, leaving observers on the edge as they await the next chapter in this high-stakes drama.

[With information sourced from Philenews]

Cyprus  |  Ukraine  |  Russia  |  security  |  court

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