18 million cubic meters of gas in underground storages belonging to Novinsky seized
Photo: Novinsky's press service

The Security Service of Ukraine has seized 18 million cubic meters of natural gas, which is stored in underground storage and belongs to Vadim Novinsky's companies, the agency's press service reports.

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The value of gas is estimated at UAH 144 million ($3.9 million).

The arrest was made within the framework of criminal proceedings on the fact of aiding the aggressor state (Article 111-2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

The SBU believes that Novinsky's business tried to circumvent sanctions by re-registering it to foreigners who may be connected to Russia. Therefore, his assets were gradually blocked. Last week, 40 Ukrainian enterprises and 30 gas wells connected to Novinsky were arrested.

On April 10, the Ministry of Justice canceled the change of ultimate beneficial owners in Smart Holding, Ukrgazvydobutok and Regal Petroleum Corporation (Ukraine) Limited, which Novinsky transferred to the Smart Trust and Step Trust trusts.

The owners of these trusts are Cypriot citizens Andreas and Charoula Sophokleus, Elena Iona, Konstantina Alkiviadus and Aphrodite Loukaidou.

They claim that Ukraine grossly violated their rights, since both trusts were created before the imposition of sanctions on Novinsky.

On December 2, the National Security and Defense Council imposed sanctions against Novinsky due to his involvement in a religious organization affiliated with centers of influence in the Russian Federation. After that, it was revealed that he had allegedly transferred his assets to a trust and ceased to control the activities of the investment and industrial group Smart-Holding.

Novinsky was last seen in Switzerland wearing a cassock and taking part in a Sunday service in the largest Russian Orthodox church in Zurich.