Eric Ciaramella, right. He and a colleague, Sean Misko, below — both now central to impeachment — were Obama administration holdovers (

By Paul Sperry, RealClearInvestigations
January 22, 2020

Barely two weeks after Donald Trump took office, Eric Ciaramella – the CIA analyst whose name was recently linked in a tweet by the president and mentioned by lawmakers as the anonymous “whistleblower” who touched off Trump’s impeachment – was overheard in the White House discussing with another staffer how to remove the newly elected president from office, according to former colleagues.

Sources told RealClearInvestigations the staffer with whom Ciaramella was speaking was Sean Misko. Both were Obama administration holdovers working in the Trump White House on foreign policy and national security issues. And both expressed anger over Trump’s new “America First” foreign policy, a sea change from President Obama’s approach to international affairs.

“Just days after he was sworn in they were already talking about trying to get rid of him,” said a White House colleague who overheard their conversation.

“They weren’t just bent on subverting his agenda,” the former official added. “They were plotting to actually have him removed from office.”

Misko left the White House last summer to join House impeachment manager Adam Schiff’s committee, where sources say he offered “guidance” to the whistleblower, who has been officially identified only as an intelligence officer in a complaint against Trump filed under whistleblower laws. Misko then helped run the impeachment inquiry based on that complaint as a top investigator for congressional Democrats.

The probe culminated in Trump’s impeachment last month on a party-line vote in the House of Representatives. Schiff and other House Democrats last week delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate, and are now pressing the case for his removal during the trial, which began Tuesday.

The coordination between the official believed to be the whistleblower and a key Democratic staffer, details of which are disclosed here for the first time, undercuts the narrative that impeachment developed spontaneously out of what Trump’s Democratic antagonists call the “patriotism” of an “apolitical civil servant.”

Two former co-workers said they overheard Ciaramella and Misko, close friends and Democrats, discussing how to “take out,” or remove, the new president from office within days of Trump’s inauguration. These co-workers said the president’s controversial Ukraine phone call in July 2019 provided the pretext they and their Democratic allies had been looking for.

“They didn’t like his policies,” another former White House official said. “They had a political vendetta against him from Day One.”

Their efforts were part of a larger pattern of coordination to build a case for impeachment, involving Democratic leaders as well as anti-Trump figures both inside and outside of government.

All unnamed sources for this article spoke only on condition that they not be further identified or described. Although strong evidence points to Ciaramella as the government employee who lodged the whistleblower complaint, he has not been officially identified as such. As a result, this article makes a distinction between public information released about the unnamed whistleblower/CIA analyst and specific information about Ciaramella.

Democrats based their impeachment case on the whistleblower complaint, which alleges that President Trump sought to help his re-election campaign by demanding that Ukraine’s leader investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter in exchange for military aid. Yet Schiff, who heads the House Intelligence Committee, and other Democrats have insisted on keeping the identity of the whistleblower secret, citing concern for his safety, while arguing that his testimony no longer matters because other witnesses and documents have “corroborated” what he alleged in his complaint about the Ukraine call.

Hunter and Joe Biden: Subjects of the Ukraine phone call at the center of Trump’s impeachment.

Republicans have fought unsuccessfully to call him as a witness, arguing that his motivations and associations are relevant – and that the president has the same due-process right to confront his accuser as any other American.

The whistleblower’s candor is also being called into question.  It turns out that the CIA operative failed to report his contacts with Schiff’s office to the intelligence community’s inspector general who fielded his whistleblower complaint. He withheld the information both in interviews with the inspector general, Michael Atkinson, and in writing, according to impeachment committee investigators. The whistleblower form he filled out required him to disclose whether he had “contacted other entities” — including “members of Congress.” But he left that section blank on the disclosure form he signed.

The investigators say that details about how the whistleblower consulted with Schiff’s staff and perhaps misled Atkinson about those interactions are contained in the transcript of a closed-door briefing Atkinson gave to the House Intelligence Committee last October. However, Schiff has sealed the transcript from public view. It is the only impeachment witness transcript out of 18 that he has not released.

Schiff has classified the document “Secret,” preventing Republicans who attended the Atkinson briefing from quoting from it. Even impeachment investigators cannot view it outside a highly secured room, known as a “SCIF,” in the basement of the Capitol. Members must first get permission from Schiff, and they are forbidden from bringing phones into the SCIF or from taking notes from the document.

While the identity of the whistleblower remains unconfirmed, at least officially, Trump recently retweeted a message naming Ciaramella, while Republican Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Louie Gohmert of the House Judiciary Committee have publicly demanded that Ciaramella testify about his role in the whistleblower complaint.

During last year’s closed-door House depositions of impeachment witnesses, Ciaramella’s name was invoked in heated discussions about the whistleblower, as RealClearInvestigations first reported Oct. 30, and has appeared in at least one testimony transcript. Congressional Republicans complain Schiff and his staff counsel have redacted his name from other documents.

Lawyers representing the whistleblower have neither confirmed nor denied that Ciaramella is their client. In November, after Donald Trump Jr. named Ciaramella and cited RCI’s story in a series of tweets, however, they sent a “cease and desist” letter to the White House demanding Trump and his “surrogates” stop “attacking” him. And just as the whistleblower complaint was made public in September, Ciaramella’s social media postings and profiles were scrubbed from the Internet.

Take Out’ the President

Ciaramella in early 2017 expressed hostility toward the newly elected president during White House meetings, his co-workers said in interviews with RealClearInvestigations. They added that Ciaramella sought to have Trump removed from office long before the filing of the whistleblower complaint.

At the time, the CIA operative worked on loan to the White House as a top Ukrainian analyst in the National Security Council, where he had previously served as an adviser on Ukraine to Vice President Biden. The whistleblower complaint cites Biden, alleging that Trump demanded Ukraine’s newly elected leader investigate him and his son “to help the president’s 2020 reelection bid.”

Two NSC co-workers told RCI that they overheard Ciaramella and Misko – who was also working at the NSC as an analyst – making anti-Trump remarks to each other while attending a staff-wide NSC meeting called by then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, where they sat together in the south auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, part of the White House complex.

The “all hands” meeting, held about two weeks into the new administration, was attended by hundreds of NSC employees.

“They were popping off about how they were going to remove Trump from office. No joke,” said one ex-colleague, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.

A military staffer detailed to the NSC, who was seated directly in front of Ciaramella and Misko during the meeting, confirmed hearing them talk about toppling Trump during their private conversation, which the source said lasted about one minute. The crowd was preparing to get up to leave the room at the time.

“After Flynn briefed [the staff] about what ‘America first’ foreign policy means, Ciaramella turned to Misko and commented, ‘We need to take him out,’ ” the staffer recalled. “And Misko replied, ‘Yeah, we need to do everything we can to take out the president.’ “

Added the military detailee, who spoke on condition of anonymity: “By ‘taking him out,’ they meant removing him from office by any means necessary. They were triggered by Trump’s and Flynn’s vision for the world. This was the first ‘all hands’ [staff meeting] where they got to see Trump’s national security team, and they were huffing and puffing throughout the briefing any time Flynn said something they didn’t like about ‘America First.’ ”

He said he also overheard Ciaramella telling Misko, referring to Trump, ‘We can’t let him enact this foreign policy.’ “

Alarmed by their conversation, the military staffer immediately reported what he heard to his superiors.

“It was so shocking that they were so blatant and outspoken about their opinion,” he recalled. “They weren’t shouting it, but they didn’t seem to feel the need to hide it.”

The co-workers didn’t think much more about the incident.

“We just thought they were wacky,” the first source said. “Little did we know.”

Neither Ciaramella nor Misko could be reached for comment.

A CIA alumnus, Misko had previously assisted Biden’s top national security aide Jake Sullivan. Former NSC staffers said Misko was Ciaramella’s closest and most trusted ally in the Trump White House.

“Eric and Sean were very tight and spent nearly two years together at the NSC,” said a former supervisor who requested anonymity. “Both of them were paranoid about Trump.”

“They were thick as thieves,” added the first NSC source. “They sat next to each other and complained about Trump all the time. They were buddies. They weren’t just colleagues. They were buddies outside the White House.”

The February 2017 incident wasn’t the only time the pair exhibited open hostility toward the president. During the following months, both were accused internally of leaking negative information about Trump to the media.

But Trump’s controversial call to the new president of Ukraine this past summer — in which he asked the foreign leader for help with domestic investigations involving the Obama administration, including Biden — gave them the opening they were looking for.

A mutual ally in the National Security Council who was one of the White House officials authorized to listen in on Trump’s July 25 conversation with Ukraine’s president leaked it to Ciaramella the next day — July 26 —  according to former NSC co-workers and congressional sources. The friend, Ukraine-born Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, held Ciaramella’s old position at the NSC as director for Ukraine. Although Ciaramella had left the White House to return to the CIA in mid-2017, the two officials continued to collaborate through interagency meetings.

Vindman leaked what he’d heard to Ciaramella by phone that afternoon, the sources said. In their conversation, which lasted a few minutes, he described Trump’s call as “crazy,” and speculated he had “committed a criminal act.” Neither reviewed the transcript of the call before the White House released it months later.

NSC co-workers said that Vindman, like Ciaramella, openly expressed his disdain for Trump whose foreign policy was often at odds with the recommendations of “the interagency” — a network of agency working groups comprised of intelligence bureaucrats, experts and diplomats who regularly meet to craft and coordinate policy positions inside the federal government.

Before he was detailed to the White House, Vindman served in the U.S. Army, where he once received a reprimand from a superior officer for badmouthing and ridiculing America in front of Russian soldiers his unit was training with during a joint 2012 exercise in Germany.

His commanding officer, Army Lt. Col. Jim Hickman, complained that Vindman, then a major, “was apologetic of American culture, laughed about Americans not being educated or worldly and really talked up Obama and globalism to the point of [it being] uncomfortable.”

“Vindman was a partisan Democrat at least as far back as 2012,” Hickman, now retired, asserted. “Do not let the uniform fool you. He is a political activist in uniform.”

Attempts to reach Vindman through his lawyer were unsuccessful.

July 26 was also the day that Schiff hired Misko to head up the investigation of Trump, congressional employment records show. Misko, in turn, secretly huddled with the whistleblower prior to filing his Aug. 12 complaint, according to multiple congressional sources, and shared what he told him with Schiff, who initially denied the contacts before press accounts revealed them.

Schiff’s office has also denied helping the whistleblower prepare his complaint, while rejecting a Republican subpoena for documents relating to it. But Capitol Hill veterans and federal whistleblower experts are suspicious of that account.

Fred Fleitz, who fielded a number of whistleblower complaints from the intelligence community as a former senior House Intelligence Committee staff member, said it was obvious that the CIA analyst had received coaching in writing the nine-page whistleblower report.

“From my experience, such an extremely polished whistleblowing complaint is unheard of,” Fleitz, also a former CIA analyst, said. “He appears to have collaborated in drafting his complaint with partisan House Intelligence Committee members and staff.”

Fleitz, who recently served as chief of staff to former National Security Adviser John Bolton, said the complaint appears to have been tailored to buttress an impeachment charge of soliciting the “interference” of a foreign government in the election.

And the whistleblower’s unsupported allegation became the foundation for Democrats’ first article of impeachment against the president. It even adopts the language used by the CIA analyst in his complaint, which Fleitz said reads more like “a political document.”

Outside Help

After providing the outlines of his complaint to Schiff’s staff, the CIA analyst was referred to whistleblower attorney Andrew Bakaj by a mutual friend “who is an attorney and expert in national security law,” according to the Washington Post, which did not identify the go-between.

A former CIA officer, Bakaj had worked with Ciaramella at the spy agency. They have even more in common: like the 33-year-old Ciaramella, the 37-year-old Bakaj is a Connecticut native who has spent time in Ukraine. He’s also contributed money to Biden’s presidential campaign and once worked for former Sen. Hillary Clinton. He’s also briefed the intelligence panel Schiff chairs.

Bakaj brought in another whistleblower lawyer, Mark Zaid, to help on the case. A Democratic donor and a politically active anti-Trump  advocate, Zaid was willing to help represent the CIA analyst. On Jan. 30, 2017, around the same time former colleagues say they overheard Ciaramella and Misko conspiring to take Trump out, Zaid tweeted that a “coup has started” and that “impeachment will follow ultimately.”

Neither Bakaj nor Zaid responded to requests for an interview.

It’s not clear who the mutual friend and national security attorney was whom the analyst turned to for additional help after meeting with Schiff’s staff. But people familiar with the matter say that former Justice Department national security lawyer David Laufman involved himself early on in the whistleblower case.

Also a former CIA officer, Laufman was promoted by the Obama administration to run counterintelligence cases, including the high-profile investigations of Clinton’s classified emails and the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia. Laufman sat in on Clinton’s July 2016 FBI interview. He also signed off on the wiretapping of a Trump campaign adviser, which the Department of Justice inspector general determined was conducted under false pretenses involving doctored emails, suppression of exculpatory evidence, and other malfeasance. Laufman’s office was implicated in the inspector general’s report detailing the surveillance misconduct.

Laufman could not be reached for comment.

Laufman and Zaid are old friends who have worked together on legal matters in the past. “I would not hesitate to join forces with him on complicated cases,” Zaid said of Laufman in a recommendation posted on his LinkedIn page.

Laufman recently defended Zaid on Twitter after Trump blasted Zaid for advocating a “coup” against him. “These attacks on Mark Zaid’s patriotism are baseless, irresponsible and dangerous,” Laufman tweeted. “Mark is an ardent advocate for his clients.”

After the CIA analyst was coached on how to file a complaint under Intelligence Community whistleblower protections, he was steered to another Obama holdover — former Justice Department attorney-turned-inspector general Michael Atkinson, who facilitated the processing of his complaint, despite numerous red flags raised by career Justice Department lawyers who reviewed it.

The department’s Office of Legal Counsel ruled that the complaint involved “foreign diplomacy,” not intelligence, contained “hearsay” evidence based on “secondhand” information, and did not meet the definition of an “urgent concern” that needed to be reported to Congress. Still, Atkinson worked closely with Schiff to pressure the White House to make the complaint public.

Fleitz said cloaking the CIA analyst in the whistleblower statute provided him cover from public scrutiny. By making him anonymous, he was able to hide his background and motives. Filing the complaint with the IC inspector general, moreover, gave him added protections against reprisals, while letting him disclose classified information. If he had filed directly with Congress, it could not have made the complaint public due to concerns about disclosing classified information. But a complaint referred by the IG to Congress gave it more latitude over what it could make public.

Omitted Contacts With Schiff

The whistleblower complaint was publicly released Sept. 26 after a barrage of letters and a subpoena from Schiff, along with a flood of leaks to the media.

However, the whistleblower did not disclose to Atkinson that he had briefed Schiff’s office about his complaint before filing it with the inspector general. He was required on forms to list any other agencies he had contacted, including Congress. But he omitted those contacts and other material facts from his disclosure. He also appears to have misled Atkinson on Aug. 12, when on a separate form he stated: “I reserve the option to exercise my legal right to contact the committees directly,” when he had already contacted Schiff’s committee weeks prior to making the statement.

“The whistleblower made statements to the inspector general under the penalty of perjury that were not true or correct,” said Rep. John Ratcliffe, a Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Ratcliffe said Atkinson appeared unconcerned after the New York Times revealed in early October that Schiff’s office had privately consulted with the CIA analyst before he filed his complaint, contradicting Schiff’s initial denials. Ratcliffe told RealClearInvestigations that in closed door testimony on Oct. 4, “I asked IG Atkinson about his ‘investigation’ into the contacts between Schiff’s staff and the person who later became the whistleblower.”  But he said Atkinson claimed that he had not investigated them because he had only just learned about them in the media.

On Oct. 8, after more media reports revealed the whistleblower and Schiff’s staff had concealed their contacts with each other, the whistleblower called Atkinson’s office to try to explain why he made false statements in writing and verbally, transgressions that could be punishable with a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment for up five years, or both, according to the federal form he signed under penalty of perjury.

In his clarification to the inspector general, the whistleblower acknowledged for the first time reaching out to Schiff’s staff before filing the complaint, according to an investigative report filed later that month by Atkinson.

“The whistleblower got caught,” Ratcliffe said. “The whistleblower made false statements. The whistleblower got caught with Chairman Schiff.”

He says the truth about what happened is documented on pages 53-73 of the transcript of Atkinson’s eight-hour testimony. Except that Schiff refuses to release it.

“The transcript is classified ‘Secret’ so Schiff can prevent you from seeing the answers to my questions,” Ratcliffe told RCI.

Atkinson replaced Charles McCullough as the intelligence community’s IG. McCullough is now a partner in the same law firm for which Bakaj and Zaid work. McCullough formerly reported directly to Obama’s National Intelligence Director, James Clapper, one of Trump’s biggest critics in the intelligence community and a regular agitator for his impeachment on CNN.

Hidden Political Agenda?

Atkinson also repeatedly refused to answer Senate Intelligence Committee questions about the political bias of the whistleblower. Republican members of the panel called his Sept. 26 testimony “evasive.” Senate investigators say they are seeking all records generated from Atkinson’s “preliminary review” of the whistleblower’s complaint, including evidence and “indicia” of the whistleblower’s “political bias” in favor of Biden.

Republicans point out that Atkinson was the top national security lawyer in the Obama Justice Department when it was investigating Trump campaign aides and Trump himself in 2016 and 2017. He worked closely with Laufman, the department’s former counterintelligence section chief who’s now aligned with the whistleblower’s attorneys. Also, Atkinson served as senior counsel to Mary McCord, the senior Justice official appointed by Obama who helped oversee the FBI’s Russia “collusion” probe, and who personally pressured the White House to fire then National Security Adviser Flynn. She and Atkinson worked together on the Russia case. Closing the circle tighter, McCord was Laufman’s boss at Justice.

As it happens, all three are now involved in the whistleblower case or the impeachment process.

After leaving the department, McCord joined the stable of attorneys Democrats recruited last year to help impeach Trump. She is listed as a top outside counsel for the House in key legal battles tied to impeachment, including trying to convince federal judges to unblock White House witnesses and documents.

“Michael Atkinson is a key anti-Trump conspirator who played a central role in transforming the ‘whistleblower’ complaint into the current impeachment proceedings,” said Bill Marshall, a senior investigator for Judicial Watch, the conservative government watchdog group that is suing the Justice Department for Atkinson’s internal communications regarding impeachment.

Atkinson’s office declined comment.

Another ‘Co-Conspirator’?

During closed-door depositions taken in the impeachment inquiry, Ciaramella’s confederate Misko was observed handing notes to Schiff’s lead counsel for the impeachment inquiry, Daniel Goldman – another Obama Justice attorney and a major Democratic donor – as he asked questions of Trump administration witnesses, officials with direct knowledge of the proceedings told RealClearInvestigations. Misko also was observed sitting on the dais behind Democratic members during last month’s publicly broadcast joint impeachment committee hearings.

Another Schiff recruit believed to be part of the clandestine political operation against Trump is Abby Grace, who also worked closely with Ciaramella at the NSC, both before and after Trump was elected. During the Obama administration, Grace was an assistant to Obama national security aide Ben Rhodes.

Last February, Schiff recruited this other White House friend of the whistleblower to work as an impeachment investigator. Grace is listed alongside Sean Misko as senior staffers in the House Intelligence Committee’s “The Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report” published last month.

Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, who served on one of the House impeachment panels, singled out Grace and Misko as Ciaramella’s “co-conspirators” in a recent House floor speech arguing for their testimony.

“These people are at the heart of everything about this whole Ukrainian hoax,” Gohmert said. “We need to be able to talk to these people.”

A Schiff spokesman dismissed Gohmert’s allegation.

“These allegations about our dedicated and professional staff members are patently false and are based off false smears from a congressional staffer with a personal vendetta from a previous job,” said Patrick Boland, spokesman for the House Intelligence Committee. “It’s shocking that members of Congress would repeat them and other false conspiracy theories, rather than focusing on the facts of the president’s misconduct.”

Boland declined to identify “the congressional staffer with a personal vendetta.”

Schiff has maintained in open hearings and interviews that he did not personally speak with the whistleblower and still does not even know his identity, which would mean the intelligence panel’s senior staff has withheld his name from their chairman for almost six months. Still, he insists that he knows that the CIA analyst has “acted in good faith,” as well as “appropriately and lawfully.”

The CIA declined comment. But the agency reportedly has taken security measures to protect the analyst, who has continued to work on issues relating to Russia and Ukraine and participate in interagency meetings.

Ihor Kolomoyskyi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to navigationJump to search

Ihor Kolomoyskyi
Ігор Коломойський
Ihor Kolomoyskyi2.jpg
Born 13 February 1963 (age 56)

Nationality Ukrainian[2]
Other names Igor Kolomoisky
Citizenship Ukraine
Alma mater Dnipropetrovsk Metallurgical Institute[4]
Occupation Businessman, politician
Known for Co-owner of PrivatBank
Owner of FC Dnipro
Net worth US$1.1 billion (May 2019) [5]
Spouse(s) Irina
Children 2
Governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast
In office
2 March 2014[4] – 24 March 2015
Preceded by Dmytro Kolesnikov[6][7]
Succeeded by Valentyn Reznichenko (acting)[8]

Ihor Valeriyovych Kolomoyskyi (UkrainianІгор Валерійович КоломойськийRussianИгорь Валерьевич Коломойский, Igor Kolomoisky; Hebrewאיגור קולומויסקי; born 13 February 1963) is a Cypriot-Ukrainian billionaire business oligarch and the former Governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.[9]

Kolomoyskyi is rated as the second or third richest person in Ukraine (after Rinat Akhmetov and/or Viktor Pinchuk) since 2006.[10][11] and 1941st richest person in the world according to the Forbes magazine list of billionaires (as of 2019).[5] In March 2015 The Economist listed his net worth as $1.36 billion.[12] Kolomoyskyi is the leading partner of the Privat Group and a de facto chairman of the FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.[13]

In 2019, Ihor Kolomoyskyi was included in the list of the 100 most influential Ukrainians by Focus magazine, taking the 3rd place.[14]


Early life

Kolomoyskyi was born in DnipropetrovskUkrainian SSR, USSR, to a Jewish family of engineers. He graduated from the Dnipropetrovsk Metallurgical Institute in 1985.[1] He is married with two children.[4][15]

Kolomoyskyi is the co-founder of the PrivatBank (and its informal Privat Group, respectively) and was appointed chairman of its board of directors in 1997.[1][13] Other fields of activity include: ferroalloys, finance, oil products, mass media,[15] metal and petroleum industries (also in Russia and Romania).[16]

Kolomoysky has a triple Ukraine-IsraelCyprus citizenship, despite the law penalizing dual citizenship in Ukraine.[17][18] By way of explanation, Kolomoyskyi stated that: “The constitution prohibits double citizenship but triple citizenship is not forbidden.”[19]


The transliteration of Ihor Kolomoyskyi’s name into English has numerous variants including Igor, or Ihor for his first name, and Kolomoyskyi, Kolomoysky, Kolomoisky, Kolomoiskiy, or Kolomoyskiy for his surname.

Kolomoyskyi is often nicknamed Benya (Беня)[20] (which is a Russian-Jewish short name popular in the early 20th century) and Bonifatsiy after a character in the popular Soviet animated film “Каникулы Бонифация” (“Bonifacy’s holidays”) made in 1965 by Soyuzmultfilm, whose image is visually similar to Kolomoyskyi’s in appearance and hairstyle.


Through PrivatBank he controlled Aerosvit AirlinesDniproavia and Donbassaero.[21] Through the asset management company Mansvell Enterprises Limited, he controlled Skyways ExpressCity Airline, and Cimber Sterling aviation companies.[22] He also has media interests in the 1+1 Media Group, which operates eight Ukrainian TV channels.[12]

Kolomoyskyi is a billionaire listed in 2007 by Forbes as the 799th-richest man in the world (with 3.8 billion dollars,[23] in 2010 Kyiv Post estimated his wealth at $6.243 billion.[24]) In March 2012 Forbes placed him 377th with $3 billion.[10] In 2010 Kyiv Post listed Kolomoyskyi as the second richest person in Ukraine;[24] in 2012 Forbes rated him the third richest person in Ukraine.[10] In these lists Kolomoyskyi has only been surpassed in wealth by Rinat Akhmetov or/and Viktor Pinchuk.[10][11] In March 2015, after the sharp decline in the value of the Ukrainian hryvniaThe Economist listed his net worth as $1.36 billion.[12]

Since 2010 rumors were circulating that Kolomoiskyi’s assets were coming under pressure from the authorities.[24] Kolomoiskyi controls his business empire from Switzerland.[25]

Kolomoyskyi has used Privat’s “quasi-military forces” to enforce hostile takeovers of companies, sending a team of “hired rowdies armed with baseball bats, iron bars, gas and rubber bullet pistols and chainsaws” to forcibly take over a Kremenchuk steel plant in 2006,[26] and has used “a mix of phony court orders (often involving corrupt judges and/or registrars) and strong-arm tactics” to replace directors on the boards of companies he purchases stakes in.[27] Kolomoyskyi was criticized by Mr Justice Mann in a court case in London involving an attempted hostile takeover of an oil company, with the judge stating that he had “a reputation of having sought to take control of a company at gunpoint in Ukraine” and that a finance director considered she had “strong grounds for doubting the honesty of Mr Kolomoyskyi”.[28]

Following the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea the Crimean assets of Kolomoyskyi have been nationalized; according to Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov this was “totally justified due to the fact that he is one of the initiators and financiers of the special anti-terrorist operation in the Eastern Ukraine where Russian citizens are being killed”.[29][30] In response Kolomoyskyi has filed a complaint against Russia at the Permanent Court of Arbitration; according to Russia, the court has no jurisdiction over the matter and that it will not participate in proceedings.[31]

Kolomoyskyi and Ukrainian politics

Analysts have listed Kolomoyskyi as an ally of Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymoshenko and her Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko.[1] Although according to RIA Novosti (in January 2010), Kolomoysky relations with Tymoshenko “were soured some time ago, probably due to his refusal to finance Tymoshenko’s election campaign” in 2010.[25][32] Croatian newspaper Nacional claimed in September 2007 that Kolomoyskyi had become an ally of (then) Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko and had financed Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine–People’s Self-Defense Bloc.[16]

In the 2012 Ukrainian parliamentary election Kolomoyskyi was perceived as being one of UDAR‘s main sponsors.[25][33] This has been denied by UDAR.[34]

Kolomoyski owns 70% of the 1+1 Media Group whose TV channel 1+1 aired “Servant of the People“, the comedy series in which Volodymyr Zelensky played the role of president of Ukraine. On 31 March 2019 Zelensky won the most votes in the first round of Ukraine’s real presidential elections,[35] resulting in Yulia Tymoshenko being eliminated from the next round.[36] On April 21, 2019 Zelensky went on to win the presidential election.

Governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast

On 2 March 2014, amidst the 2014 pro-Russian conflict in Ukraine, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov appointed Kolomoyskyi Governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.[37] Two days later, Russian President Vladimir Putin described Kolomoyskyi as a “unique crook,” and said that the citizens of Dnipropetrovsk were not happy with his appointment as Governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.[9] According to Putin, Roman Abramovich has been cheated by Igor Kolomoyskyi. Putin claimed that Kolomoyskyi had reneged on a contract with Abramovich, saying “He [Kolomoyskyi] even managed to cheat our Roman Abramovich two or three years ago. Scammed him, as our intellectuals like to say. They signed some deal, Abramovich transferred several billion dollars, while this guy never delivered and pocketed the money. When I asked him [Abramovich]: “Why did you do it?” he said: “I never thought this was possible.”[38] In contrast, The Daily Beast, a US publication, wrote in mid-June 2014 that Kolomoyskyi enjoyed the local population’s strong support. “I don’t care if he’s like Hitler, as long as he prevents war coming here,” says a local restaurateur.[39]

In April 2014 Kolomoyskyi offered a bounty for the capture of Russian-backed militants and incentives for the turning in of weapons.[40] He also is believed to have spent $10 million to create the Dnipro Battalion,[39][41] and also funded the AidarAzov, Dnepr 1, Dnepr 2, and Donbas volunteer battalions.[42]

Russia is asking for Kolomoyskyi to be put on Interpol‘s wanted list.[43] On 2 July 2014 a Russian District Court authorized his arrest in absentia for “organizing the killing of civilians”.[44]

In March 2015, after the dismissal of Oleksandr Lazorko, who was a protege of Kolomoyskyi, as a chief executive of UkrTransNafta, Ukraine’s state-owned oil pipeline operator, men reported to be Kolomoyskyi’s personal militia raided the UkrTransNafta’s headquarters to expel the new government-appointed chief from the office. While Lazorko was in charge the state-owned pipelines had been delivering oil to an Kolomoisky-owned refinery in preference to competitors.[12][45] According to Kolomoyskyi the raids were done with the aim to protect the companies from raiders and he related to it as a “PR-stunt to improve the ratings of smaller parties”.[46]

On March 25, 2015, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree dismissing Kolomoyskyi from the post of Dnipropetrovsk RSA Head, saying “Dnipropetrovsk region must remain a bastion of Ukraine in the East and protect peace”. Kolomoyskyi was replaced by Valentyn Reznichenko.[12][47][48]

Jewish politics

Kolomoyski is a prominent supporter of Ukraine’s Jewish community[49] and the president of the United Jewish Community of Ukraine.[50] In 2010, he was appointed as the president of the European Council of Jewish Communities (ECJC)[51] after promising the outgoing president he would donate $14 million,[52] with his appointment being described as a “putsch[50][51] and a “Soviet-style takeover”[53] by other ECJC board members. After several ECJC board members resigned in protest, Kolomyski quit the ECJC and, together with fellow Ukrainian oligarch Vadim Rabinovich, founded the European Jewish Union.[52]

Fighting against separatism

On February 22, 2014, he said that separatism would not take place in Dnipropetrovsk. He named Kernes’s calling of the “Ukrainian Front” congress a farce and urged politicians to soberly look at the situation and form their position “in the light of the Constitution of Ukraine”.[54][55]

On April 17, deputy head of the DODA Filatov stated that Kolomoisky would pay $10,000 for each transferred Russian saboteur. On April 22, deputy head of the National Defense Staff of the Dnipropetrovsk region Mikhail Lysenko informed that Kolomoisky paid 10 thousand US dollars for the arrest of 8 Russian saboteurs.[56]

On June 3, a $500,000 reward was announced for the delivery of Oleg Tsarov, a leader of the separatists, to the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine.[57]

Recent years

After leaving the Governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast post, Kolomoyskyi obtained a U.S. Visa. He moved to mainly reside in Switzerland, also spending time in the United States.[58]

In 2015 Victor Pinchuk brought a $2 billion civil action against Kolomoyskyi and Gennadiy Bogolyubov in the High Court of Justice in London over the 2004 purchase of a Ukrainian mining company. Allegations made include murder and bribery.[59][60] In January 2016 an undisclosed out of court settlement was reached just before the trial was due to start.[61]

In January 2016 Kolomoyskyi brought a complaint in the Permanent Court of Arbitration against Russia, alleging he was deprived of his right to operate a passenger airport in Crimea after the 2014 annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation.[62][63] A criminal case against Kolomoisky was also started in Russia in January 2016, where he is accused of organizing murders and the use of prohibited methods of warfare.[64]

During its November 2016 party congress Kolomoyskyi was elected into the party leadership of the political party UKROP.[65]

In November 2019, the New York Times reported that Kolomoisky was behind plans to build a controversial ski resort in Svydovets, Ukraine. In the article, a professor at a local university is quoted describing Kolomoisky as “a leech who sucks our blood here and puts it in Switzerland.”[66]


In 2016 Ihor Kolomoisky and his business partner Gennadiy Bogolyubov were accused of defrauding Ukraine’s largest bank PrivatBank of billions of dollars. The Ukrainian government nationalized the bank in 2016 after paying off a $5.6 billion bailout. The lawsuit against Kolomoisky was brought by PrivatBank to the High Court in London and initially resulted in freezing $2.6 billion of the oligarch’s assets. However, in 2018 the High Court in London ruled that it had no jurisdiction for further proceedings and found that “PrivatBank “fabricated” the case in an attempt to bring a claim in London”[67]

In April 2019, a Ukrainian court ruled that the nationalisation of PrivatBank was illegal.[68][69] Ukraine’s central bank said it would not be possible to reverse the nationalisation and that it would appeal the decision.[70] Kolomoisky states that he has no interest in taking over control of the bank and seeks $2bn in compensation for losses he insists were incurred during the nationalisation.[71]


See also

References …


Burisma Holdings

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to navigationJump to search

Burisma Holdings Limited
Industry Oil and gas
Founded 2002
Founder Mykola Zlochevsky


Key people
Mykola Zlochevsky (President)
Taras Burdeinyi (CEO)[1]
Alan Apter (Chairman)[2]
Products Natural gas
Services Drilling
Owner Brociti Investments Limited
Subsidiaries Burisma Services
Persha Ukrainska Naftogazova Kompaniya
Naftogaz Garant
Naftogazopromyslova geologiya

Burisma Holdings Limited (UkrainianБурісма ХолдингсGreekΜπουρίσμα Χόλντιγκς) is a holding company for a group of energy exploration and production companies. It is based in KyivUkraine, but registered in LimassolCyprus. Burisma Holdings has operated in the Ukrainian natural gas market since 2002. It is one of the largest private natural gas producers in Ukraine.[3][4] It is owned by Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky through his company Brociti Investments Limited (UkrainianБросіті Інвестментс Лімітед).

Burisma’s subsidiaries include Esko-Pivnich, Pari, Persha Ukrainska Naftogazova Kompaniya, Naftogaz Garant, KUB-Gas and Astroinvest-Ukraine.[5][6][7]



Burisma was founded in 2002.[8][9] Consolidation of the Burisma Group took place mainly in 2006 and 2007.[1] It became a major shareholder of Sunrise Energy Resources, a Delaware Corporation, which in 2004 acquired Ukrainian companies Esko-Pivnich (UkrainianЕско-Північ) and Pari (UkrainianПарі), which owned natural gas exploration licences.[10] In 2009, shares in these companies were transferred to Millington Solutions Limited.[10] However, shortly thereafter Millington ceased to exist, and Burisma claimed ownership of those two companies. In 2012, Persha Ukrainska Naftogazova Kompaniya (First Ukrainian Oil and Gas Company, UkrainianПерша Українська нафтогазова компанія), Naftogaz Garant (Oil and Gas Guarantee, UkrainianНафтогаз гарант), and KrymTopEnergoServis (CrimeaTopEnergoService, UkrainianКримтопенергосервіс) became a part of the Burisma Group.[11][12][13]

In 2014, Burisma signed a cooperation agreement with KazMunayGas, the national oil and gas company of Kazakhstan.[14] In 2016, Burisma bought two hydraulic fracturing (fracking) fleets.[15] In 2017, it bought a 3,000-horsepower Service King Manufacturing SK 3000 drilling rig for $40 million (USD); it was the most powerful drilling rig in Eastern Europe at the time.[16]

In February 2016, Burisma acquired a 70% stake in KUB-Gas (КУБ-Газ).[5] In 2017, it bought a majority stake in Diloretio Holdings Limited, a company which owned Ukrainian gas companies SystemOilEngineering (UkrainianСистемойлинжиниринг), Naftogazopromyslova geologiya, (Oil and Gas Industrial Geology, UkrainianНафтогазпромислова геологія), and Tehnokomservis (TechnoComService, UkrainianТехнокомсервіс).[17] Also in 2017, Burisma bought Nadragasvydobuvannya (Subsoil Gas Extraction, UkrainianНадрагазвидобування)[18] and GasOilInvest (Гасоілінвест).[19] In April 2019, Burisma acquired Astroinvest Ukraine (Астроінвест-Україна), a natural gas trader.[6]

In 2015, Burisma was one of the founders of the International Forum on Energy Security for the Future and partnered the Electric Marathon.[20] In 2017, it signed a partnership agreement with the Atlantic Council to promote anti-corruption measures.[21][22]


Burisma’s primary operations are in Ukraine, supplemented by activities in Germany, Mexico, Italy, and Kazakhstan.[15] It holds 35 gas production licences in Ukraine in the Dnieper-DonetsCarpathian, and AzovKuban Basins.[5][8] Exploration and production activities are carried out at eight sites in five regions.[23] Burisma also provides natural gas well services, including hydraulic fracturing.[15] Burisma plans to build a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) plant in Kharkiv with a capacity of 50,000 tonnes per year.[7]

In 2016, Burisma was the second largest privately owned natural gas producer in Ukraine after DTEK,[4] accounting for 26% of all natural gas produced by privately owned companies and more than 5% of total gas production in Ukraine.[4][24] According to the company, it produced 1.3 billion cubic metres (4.6×1010 cubic feet) of natural gas in Ukraine in 2018.[8]

In Kazakhstan, the company has provided drilling services to KazMunayGas and its subsidiaries, including at the Urikhtau gas field.[25] In Italy, Burisma develops three geothermal power projects in partnership with Gesto Investimento e Gestão.[25]

Burisma’s subsidiary Esko-Pivnich operates in the Kharkiv Oblast, and Pari operates in Western Ukraine (LvivIvano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi oblasts).[26] KUB-Gas operates in Luhansk Oblast,[5] GasOilInvest in Poltava Oblast,[19] and Nadragasvydobuvannya in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.[27] Burisma also owned KrymTopEnergoServis, a company which leased three gas deposits in Crimea.[13][26][28] However, after annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, KrymTopEnergoServis ceased operation as Burisma subsidiary.[28]

Corporate matters


Burisma Holdings is owned by Brociti Investments Limited, a Cyprus-based company owned by Ukrainian former politician and businessman Mykola Zlochevsky. Zlochevsky was minister of natural resources under Viktor Yanukovych, the president of Ukraine.[29] Brociti Investments acquired Burisma Holdings in 2011.[30] Before that acquisition, Mykola Zlochevsky and Mykola Lisin each owned a 50% interest in Burisma Holdings.[10][30][31] Lisin, a Ukrainian politician, died in a traffic accident in 2011.[31]


Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former President of the Republic of Poland, was appointed to the board in January 2014.[32][33]

Taras Burdeinyi is the chief executive officer of Burisma Holdings,[1] and Alan Apter is chairman of the board of directors.[2] As of 14 October 2019, the members of the board of directors, in order of seniority, are Alan Apter, Aleksander KwaśniewskiJoseph Cofer Black , Karina Zlochevska, Christina Sofocleous, Riginos Charalampous, and Marina Pericleous.[2][34] Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former president of Poland, joined the board in January 2014.[32][33] In 2017, Joseph Cofer Black, former director of the Counterterrorism Center of the Central Intelligence Agency (1999–2002) in the George W. Bush administration and former Ambassador-at-Large for counter-terrorism (2002–2004), was appointed to the board.[35] Karina Zlochevska, daughter of Mykola Zlochevskiy, was also appointed in February 2016.[2].

In April 2014, Devon Archer, a former senior adviser to the John Kerry 2004 presidential campaign, and Hunter Biden, an attorney and the son of then-US vice president Joe Biden, joined the board.[32][36] Archer left the company in 2018[37] and Biden left in April 2019, when his term as a director expired.[8]

Financial results

Burisma Holdings does not disclose its financial results.[8][15] It has been calculated, based on a minimal natural gas price, that the company’s revenue in 2018 may have totaled at least US$400 million.[8]


In April 2014, the Serious Fraud Office of the United Kingdom launched a money laundering investigation against Zlochevsky and accounts of Burisma Holdings and its parent Brociti Investments at the London branch of BNP Paribas containing US$23 million were frozen. That money was transferred as a result of complex transactions by a company controlled by an Ukrainian businessman Serhiy Kurchenko, a subject of the European Union restrictive measures.[38] When the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office failed to provide documents needed for the investigation, a British court in January 2015 dropped the case and ordered to unfreeze the assets.[39] In September 2015, then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt gave a speech in which he called out Ukrainian prosecutors for failing to cooperate with the investigation.[39]

Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine and National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) have conducted in total 15 investigations on Burisma’s owner Zlochevsky.[40] In 2016, former Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko accused Burisma subsidiaries of conspiracy and tax evasion of about one billion hryvnias (US$70 million) in 2014–2015, but later during investigation subsidiaries of Burisma were not mentioned.[41] Tax audit of Esko-Pivnich by the State Fiscal Service found some violations in 2016. As a result, 50 million hryvnias (US$1.9 million) of additional taxes was paid to eliminate criminal charges.[41] In total, Burisma paid additional 180 million hryvnias (US$7.44 million) of taxes to avoid further criminal proceedings.[8][23] A criminal investigation was conducted if natural resources extraction licenses were issued to Burisma subsidiaries legally during the period Zlochevsky held government office. Although violations of the procedure were established by NABU, the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office missed procedural deadlines for a lawsuit and the case for nullifying licesenses was dismissed by the court.[41] In October 2019, Prosecutor General Ruslan Riaboshapka announced that all 15 investigation cases will be reviewed.[40]

See also

References …