Ukrainian oligarch Konstantin Zhevago, accused of embezzlement and money laundering, was arrested at an elite French ski resort.
Zhevago was arrested by French law enforcement at the request of the Ukrainian State Bureau of Investigation, the agency said Wednesday in a statement.
French and Ukrainian law enforcement had been cooperating on the case for months before the oligarch’s arrest. The former head of Ukraine’s “Finances and Credit” group, Zhevago is accused of “organizing a mechanism for the embezzlement” of $113 million.
He was also an independent member of Ukraine’s parliament for 21 years before being ousted in 2019 by a member of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Servant of the People Party.
“Today, at the request of the SBI investigators, it was possible to detain Kostyantyn Zhevago in Courchevel. As you know, he is involved in several criminal proceedings with the SBI, and now they are preparing documents for extradition,” SBI communications adviser Tetyana Sapyan told Ukrainian television on Wednesday, according to Interfax.
Zhevago initially attempted to challenge the legality of the detention but eventually decided to cooperate with French police. The SBI touted the close cooperation with French law enforcement that preceded his arrest.
“For several months, there was a close interaction with law enforcement officers of various countries, including the judiciary, gendarmerie, and police of the French Republic,” a statement on the SBI’s website said.
Zhevago’s assets were seized by Ukrainian law enforcement as well — including his vast properties in Ukraine.
“As of today, the property of the suspected oligarch, as well as legal entities related to him, have been seized. In particular, shares of his enterprises worth hundreds of millions of hryvnias, corporate rights of companies, 26 real estate objects. Also, the property of other legal entities related to the former deputy was seized. Among other things, these are 14 property complexes, 21 parts of property complexes, 30 non-residential premises, 10 apartments,” it said.
Zhevago is scheduled to be extradited to Ukraine as soon as the proper documents are prepared. He currently has a net worth of $1.3 billion, which according to Forbes, is $1 billion less than last year, largely because of the war. He initially shot to wealth through his mining company Ferrexpo.