Ukraine’s Richest Man Suspected of Attempted Murder

KIEV, Ukraine -- A Ukrainian from the southeastern city of Donetsk, Sergey Chernyshov, has accused the country’s richest man Rinat Akhmetov of murder attempt made 17 years ago.

Rinat Akhmetov

Chernyshov claims that Akhmetov shot him twice in the chest in 1988, Ukraine’s deputy Interior Minister Gennadiy Moskal was quoted as saying by Komsomolskaya Pravda in Ukraine daily as saying. “But we have to prove all this,” Moskal stressed.

Akhmetov has already been sought by prosecutors in connection with a criminal investigation.

The Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s office wants to question a man, whose fortune is estimated at $2.4 billion, about criminal cases into violence a decade ago in his hometown, Donetsk, gripped by gangland warfare in the 1990s. But no charges have been laid against him so far.

Akhmetov failed to appear before prosecutors last month, explaining he had not wanted to interrupt his holiday with his wife and two sons in Monaco.

The tycoon claims he invested in the Ukrainian economy under the rules that existed at the time that followed the collapse of the USSR. He is believed to acquire his fortune in the mid-1990s as did other “oligarchs” taking advantage of low prices in post-Soviet selloffs.

Akhmetov backed ex-prime minister Viktor Yanukovich’s run for the presidency last year. Liberal Viktor Yushchenko won a re-run of the election in December after weeks of “Orange Revolution” protests against cheating in the original poll.

Akhmetov, the president of the Shakhtar FC, whose empire includes steel and machine-building plants, telecoms companies and banks, has already lost a prominent asset, Ukraine’s largest steel mill, Kryvorizhstal. The plant was sold in June 2004 to Akhmetov and his partners for about $800 million, below other offers in a selloff denounced by Yushchenko as “theft”. Courts have overturned the sale and the new government is preparing a repeat tender in October.

Source: MosNews


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