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Ukraine's Parliament Approves 'Oligarch Law,' Day After Attack On Presidential Aide

Critics of the law passed by the Verkhovna Rada have warned that the proposed legislation opens the door for subjective targeting.

Ukrainian lawmakers have approved a draft bill directed at limiting the influence of oligarchs, the day after a car carrying a top aide of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who pushed for the reform, was riddled with bullets as it traveled through a village.

The second and final reading of the proposed legislation -- known as "the oligarch law" -- was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on September 23.

The draft law, which must still be signed by Zelenskiy, would introduce a legal definition for an oligarch, create a register of tycoons, and impose limitations on their activities such as blocking them from financing political parties.

Zelenskiy's team has suggested anger at the law could be behind an attempt to assassinate Serhiy Shefir, a top aide and close friend of the president, on September 22. Shefir was not injured, but his driver was hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

The United States has long called on Ukraine to tackle the handful of tycoons who wield enormous political influence from behind the scenes to the detriment of the country and its citizens.

However, critics of the law have warned that the proposed legislation opens the door for subjective targeting.

According to the bill, Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council would make the final determination of whether an individual meets the criteria of a person having significant economic or political influence in public life, or oligarch.

The Council of Ministers, members of the central bank, the Defense Council, the Anti-Monopoly Ministry, or the Security Service (SBU), have the right to submit the name of a tycoon for review by the council.