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Ukrainian Billionaire Pinchuk Denounces Allegations over Journalist’s Murder

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Ukrainian businessman Victor Pinchuk, No. 645 on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people, views recent negative broadcasts about his father-in-law, the second President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, as blackmail aimed at making him drop business litigation in London, Interfax-Ukraine said.

“It’s absolutely obvious to me that this is the way (Dnipropetrovsk governor Ihor) Kolomoisky and (Kolomoisky business partner and advisor Hennadiy) Boholiubov are trying to pressure me to drop the lawsuits I filed against them in London. Since (I) filed the lawsuits, Kolomoisky and Boholiubov have started threatening me with a campaign against my relatives, ” said Pinchuk’s statement posted on Tuesday.

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He noted that last week the 1+1 Channel interrupted its regular schedule with segments stating that Kuchma had given the order to murder journalist Georgy Gongadze, the report said.

“I’m honored to be Leonid Danylovych’s son-in-law and happy to be Olena’s, his daughter’s husband. At the same time, I’m in a business conflict and a legal proceeding against certain shareholders of 1+1 Channel, ” Pinchuk explained, according to the report.

The businessman claimed that this was exactly what the fourth President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych did in 2011. “He was taking revenge on Leonid Danylovych for his refusal to break up Maidan in 2004, and expected me (to provide him with information support on) TV channels. Today, Kolomoisky is using the same Yanukovych ‘instruments’ by using (former Deputy Prosecutor General Renat) Kuzmin and (former employee at the State Security Administration of Ukraine, Mykola) Melnychenko, ” the report said.

Pinchuk accused Kolomoisky and Boholiubov of using underhanded tactics to resolve the conflict, and claimed that the governor had amassed leverage and administrative resources. “But the blackmail didn’t bring results in 2011, and it won’t do so today. The lawsuits won’t be dropped, ” the businessman said, according to the report.

He said that together with his family he is extremely interested in an honest and unbiased investigation into the journalist’s murder, as well as in an open trial of former chief of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry outdoor surveillance operations unit Oleksiy Pukach, as it will clear Kuchma of any suspicion, the report said.

In March 2013, Pinchuk filed claims with British courts on the right to ownership of the Kryvy Rih Iron Ore Combine.

The Independent newspaper said that Pinchuk claims the mining assets are now worth $2 billion.

Pinchuk has business interests in various sectors, including the pipe and wheel business Interpipe, and the ferroalloy, oil and gas sectors managed by EastOne Group. He’s also involved in the media business with Starlightmedia Group.

Boholiubov and Kolomoisky are long-term partners and cofounders of the Privat Group, which has interests in several sectors and controls PrivatBank, the largest bank in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, a column in the KyivPost backed Pinchuk’s recent calls for anticorruption measures, saying that Ukraine needs to remove from power the remnants of the Yanukovych regime, especially from the judiciary, and that the country’s president has sufficient prestige and authority to do so.




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