Police have raided the headquarters of PrivatBank, Ukraine's largest bank, as part of a criminal investigation the same day that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) arrived for talks on starting a new lending program.
The September 11 raid involved special-forces police and was carried out at the lending institution's main office in Dnipro in accordance with a search warrant issued by a district court in the eastern Ukrainian city, according to a PrivatBank press release.
The raid was reportedly related to an investigation into whether bank officials exceeded their authority in concluding agreements with domestic and international recruitment and consulting companies.
PrivatBank was nationalized in 2016 with the backing of the IMF because risky lending practices left the bank with a shortfall of billions of dollars.
After its nationalization the state pumped nearly $6 billion into the bank to keep it afloat.
The bank’s new management, appointed by the country's central bank, has since initiated litigation domestically and in foreign jurisdictions, including in Britain and the United States, to recover what it says was money stolen from the financial institution via alleged money laundering and fraudulent loans.
A civil lawsuit was filed in the U.S. state of Delaware on May 21, one day after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was sworn into office.
The bank's co-founder, Ihor Kolomoyskiy, has been vocal about his intention to regain control of the bank.
He and companies he controls have filed hundreds of lawsuits, most of them in Ukraine, related to Privatbank.
A Ukrainian court ruled in April that the nationalization was illegal, boosting the chances that Kolomoyskiy could once regain control of the bank.
Kolomoyskiy faced investigations and government pressure in Ukraine during the presidency of Petro Poroshenko.
Kolomoyskiy, who lived in self-imposed exile for nearly two years, returned to Ukraine after President Zelenskiy's election in April.
The Dnipro raid took place just a day after Zelenskiy and Kolomoyskiy, who are reputed to be close, met publicly for the first time since Zelenskiy's inauguration.
Zelenskiy has previously denied that he would help Kolomoyskiy regain ownership of PrivatBank.
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