Two Ukrainian Oligarchs became Cleveland’s largest commercial real estate owners through fraudulent corporate loans and money laundering, according to Cleveland Scene.
Igor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Bogolyubov, founders of Ukraine’s PrivatBank, fraudulently channeled more than $185 million from the financial institution to acquire at least five commercial developments in Cleveland.
Among the properties under their control were One Cleveland Center, 55 Public Square, Huntington Building, AECOM/Penton Media Building, and the Crowne Plaza Building.
The businessmen, who own mining factories in Ukraine, also invested heavily in American metalworking facilities.
A lawsuit was filed against the bankers last month in Delaware, where they directed the fraudulent capital before investing it through one of their US-based firms—Optima International, Optima Ventures, and Optima Acquisitions.
According to that legal complaint, the oligarch’s loan recycling schemes were “functionally identical” to a Ponzi scheme, since they paid previous fraudulent corporate loans with money from new fraudulent loans.
Ukraine nationalized PrivatBank in December of 2016 and injected close to $5.5 billion into the company to prevent it from collapsing. The bank, however, was privatized again last year.