FBI Raids Cleveland Company With CRE Holdings And Ties To Ukrainian Oligarch
The FBI has raided the Cleveland offices of Optima Management Group at One Cleveland Center. Among other assets, Optima owns commercial real estate.
Optima is linked to Ukrainian billionaire Igor Kolomoisky, who has been accused of stealing billions from the Ukrainian bank PrivatBank and using the lucre to buy U.S. real estate.
This week FBI agents were seen removing boxes, computers and other items from the building, and loading them into vans, Cleveland.com reported. IRS agents were present as well.
An FBI spokeswoman confirmed that the searches were of Optima, not only in Cleveland but also at an office in Miami. No arrests were made.
Last year, PrivatBank, co-founded by Kolomoisky in the 1990s but nationalized by the Ukrainian government in 2016, filed a civil lawsuit in Delaware, alleging misappropriation of bank funds. Kolomoisky denies the allegations.
Though Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has business ties to Kolomoisky, in April the Ukrainian parliament nevertheless gave preliminary approval to a law preventing the bank's return to Kolomoisky, or paying him compensation for its nationalization, the Financial Times reports.
The International Monetary Fund had been putting pressure on the country to pass such a bill as a condition of Ukraine receiving an $8B loan.
The Delaware lawsuit further alleged that Kolomoisky used the stolen funds to buy U.S. real estate through Optima. The company is controlled by three Floridians who, according to the suit, are Kolomoisky's representatives in the U.S., using PrivatBank money to acquire assets, Bloomberg reports.
PrivatBank is also suing Kolomoisky and bank co-founder Gennadiy Bogolyubov in the UK for more than $3B. That trial is slated to start in 2022.
Optima owns three sizable office buildings, the 500K SF One Cleveland Center and the 430K SF 55 Public Square in Cleveland and the 200K SF Optima Business Park in Dallas. It also owns the Westin Cleveland Downtown.
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