Ukraine to nationalize Russian tycoon Fridman's share in mobile operator Kyivstar – Forbes
Photo: LetterOne Group, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Ministry of Justice is preparing a lawsuit to the High Anti-Corruption Court (HACCU) on the nationalization of the Ukrainian assets of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, including shares in the Kyivstar mobile operator, Forbes writes with reference to an official from the Justice Ministry.

The transfer of the asset to state ownership is being prepared, while the share in the company that will be subject to recovery is being analyzed, the source of the publication said. This is not connected with the SBU's seizure of Kyivstar's corporate rights, it added.

If HACCU satisfies the Ministry of Justice's claim, these assets will be transferred to the State Property Fund and put up for tender to find a manager, explained the deputy head of the parliament's Anti-Corruption Committee, Yaroslav Yurchyshyn.

On October 6, a court seized all corporate rights of Russian businessmen Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and Andrey Kosogov. Among the blocked assets, in particular, one of the largest producers of mineral water in Ukraine IDS, which produces mineral water under the brands Morshynska, Myrhorodska, as well as a share in Kyivstar.

Kyivstar replied that it does not affect its work. Fridman, according to the company, was removed from any management or business processes at LetterOne and Veon as early as February 2022, and his assets at LetterOne are frozen under US and UK financial sanctions.

Veon is 47.9% owned by LetterOne Holdings, the founders of which are shareholders of Alfa Group, including Mikhail Fridman.

On October 9, the Dutch company Veon announced the sale of its Russian assets.

Mobile operator Vympelcom (Beeline brand), which is one of the "big three" in Russia, was acquired by its management led by CEO Aleksandr Torbakhov. The deal does not include a buyback option.

The holding continues to work in six countries: Pakistan, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. CEO of Veon Kaan Terzioglu stated that the completion of the exit from Russia significantly strengthens the holding's position to implement its strategic priorities.

Ukraine suspects Fridman of laundering $1.2 million and 1.93 million euros and deliberate tax evasion in the amount of 18 million hryvnias ($493,221) by officials of the bank, which Ukraine nationalized in July 2023.

The investigation believes that Fridman, together with his Russian companions, allegedly tried to withdraw assets worth more than 1 billion hryvnias ($27.4 million) from Ukraine so that they would not be subject to sanctions.