Rinat Akhmetov

Rinat Leonidovych Akhmetov (Ukrainian: Ріна́т Леоні́дович Ахме́тов [r⁽ʲ⁾iˈnɑt leoˈn⁽ʲ⁾idowɪtʃ ɐxˈmɛtou̯]; Russian: Рина́т Леони́дович Ахме́тов [rʲɪˈnat lʲɪɐˈnʲidəvʲɪtɕ ɐˈxmʲetəf]; Tatar: Cyrillic Ринат Леонид улы Әхмәтов, Latin Rinat Leonid uly Ӓkhmӓtov; born on 21 September 1966) is a Ukrainian billionaire businessman and oligarch.[1] He is the founder and president of System Capital Management (SCM), and ranked among the wealthiest men in Ukraine.[2] As of June 2021, he was listed as the 327nd richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of US 7.5 billion.[3] Some sources have claimed that Akhmetov has been involved in organized crime,[4][5][6] but Akhmetov has never been charged with a crime, his lawyers having successfully refuted these accusations.[7][8][9][10] Akhmetov is the owner and president of the Ukrainian football club Shakhtar Donetsk. In 2006–2007 and 2007–2012, Akhmetov was a member of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada (parliament) for the Party of Regions.[11][12][13] Akhmetov also made numerous statements, since March 2014, appealing for integrity of Ukraine and finding peaceful solutions of the crisis.[14][15]

Rinat Akhmetov
Akhmetov Rinat Leonidovich.jpg
Rinat Leonidovych Akhmetov
Рінат Леонідович Ахметов

(1966-09-21) 21 September 1966 (age 55)
Known forOwner, System Capital Management Group
Owner, Shakhtar Donetsk
Political partyOpposition Bloc
Spouse(s)Liliya Nikolaievna Smirnova
Children2 sons

Early lifeEdit

Rinat Akhmetov was born in Donetsk, Ukrainian SSR, to a working-class family. He is an ethnic Volga Tatar[16][17][18] and a practicing Sunni Muslim.[19] His father, Leonid Akhmetov was a coal-miner[12][20] and his mother, Nyakiya Nasredinovna, was a shop assistant.

Akhmetov had an older brother, Igor, who also worked as a coal miner but had to resign due to work-related health complications.[21] Igor died on 24 January 2021.[22]

Akhmetov earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Donetsk National University in 2001.[23][24]

Business careerEdit


Details regarding Akhmetov's past, how he obtained his wealth after the fall of communism in Ukraine, and his activities between 1985 and 1995, remain controversial.[25][26] Akhmetov has stated in interviews that he successfully made risky business investments in the first years after the collapse of the Soviet Union,[26] and in 2010, denied he inherited any money from Akhat Bragin or anyone else: "I have earned my first million by trading coal and coke, and spent the money on assets that no one wanted to buy. It was a risk but it was worth it".[27] Many publications in Ukraine and other European countries have made claims about Akhmetov's alleged "criminal past", some of which later retracted their statements.[25][28][29]

In 2005 Akhmetov hired American lawyers Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, who issued a statement denying that Akhmetov has any ties with the criminal world.[7]

Akhmetov and Leonid Kuchma, the second president of independent Ukraine

In his documentary book Donetsk Mafia: Anthology,[30] Ukrainian author Serhiy Kuzin claims Akhmetov held the role of a 'mafia thug' in his early years;[31] according to Hans van Zon, Professor of Central and Eastern European Studies in the University of Sunderland, "As early as 1986, Rinat and his brother Igor were involved in criminal activities."[5]

In the 1980s, Akhmetov acted as an assistant to Akhat Bragin, whom law enforcement agencies regarded as a powerful crime boss;[26] allegedly in the illegal cloth trading business.[5] Andrew Wilson, a scholar specializing in Ukrainian politics, categorized Akhmetov as an alleged former 'enforcer' and 'leader' of "[Akhat] Bragin's 'Tatar' clan", responsible for the use of "mafia methods to push aside the 'red directors' of the Industrial Union of Donbas (ISD)".[32] By the early 1990s, Akhmetov began acquiring property in Donetsk allegedly by means of extortion with the assistance of Volodymyr Malyshev, Lieutenant-General of The Head of Ministry of Internal Affairs Department in Donetsk Oblast.[5] Malyshev, now a member of Ukraine's Parliament on the committee controlling law enforcement, is accused by Kuzin of using his position to do away with previously existing police records concerning Akhmetov shortly before becoming chief of security for Akhmetov's company.[28] "In [the 1990s], Akhmetov was very different – he was totally private with no public persona, and was trying to find ways to deal with his 'difficult past'", noted U.S. ambassador William Taylor, citing prominent Ukrainian businessman Serhiy Taruta. Further in that article cited the answer of the spokesperson for Akhmetov addressed to the Kyiv Post: "We don't know whether this phrase is authentic and what it actually means. Although, any accusations of Mr Akhmetov's involvement in criminal structures is slander."[33]

In October 1995, Bragin, president of Shakhtar Donetsk football club, was killed in a mysterious bombing along with six of his bodyguards at the team's stadium during a match.[34] Some rumours associate Akhmetov with the death of Bragin.[32] Following the assassinations, Akhmetov is said to have "inherited a vast financial empire from Bragin".[5]

Akhmetov, Viktor Yanukovych and Viktor Chernomyrdin

Akhmetov would head Dongorbank (formerly Akceptbank) in 1995.[35]

In September 1999, an official Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs report titled the "Overview of the Most Dangerous Organized Crime Structures in Ukraine" identified Akhmetov as a leader of an organized crime syndicate. The report tied the group to money laundering, financial fraud, and the control of numerous large and fictitious companies.[28][36] The report also says that the group's activities "have been stopped," and says further that their criminal natures "have not been confirmed".[28]

Released in a WikiLeaks diplomatic cable, Volodymyr Horbulin, one of Ukraine's most respected policy strategists and former presidential advisor, told the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine in 2006 that the Party of Regions, which "enjoyed deep pockets, being largely financed by billionaire Donetsk boss Rinat Akhmetov" is partly composed of "pure criminals" and "criminal and anti-democracy figures".[37] In a U.S. diplomatic cable dated 3 February 2006, then U.S. Ambassador John Herbst referred to Akhmetov's Party of Regions as "long a haven for Donetsk-based mobsters and oligarchs" and called Akhmetov the "godfather" of the Donetsk clan.[33]

After Ukraine's Orange Revolution of late 2004, in an attempt to fight corruption, several prominent businessmen who were also Party of Regions members came under criminal investigation;[38] In 2011, Hennadiy Moskal, who in 2005 acted as Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, gave an interview to Ukrainian magazine Профиль (profil-ua), where he claimed to have been under Presidential orders in 2005 to investigate and audit Akhmetov for his alleged role in organized crime. Concrete evidence was never officially revealed against him, nor his company. According to Moskal, the MVS investigated all incidents related to missing people in 1990s in Donetsk region, who had any property left, and its current owners, but no connections with Rinat Akhmetov and his entourage were found.[39] Looking back, Moskal concluded that "we had nothing on Akhmetov in 2005".[39] According to political journal's Post-Soviet Affairs, and The Nation, Akhmetov was investigated on murder charges and for his alleged role in organized crime in the Donetsk region. To avoid prosecution he was prompted to flee the country to Monaco.[39][40][41][42] In June 2005, Serhiy Kornich, then head of the Interior Ministry's economic crimes department, stated publicly that Akhmetov was "the head of [an] organized crime group."[43] That year, Borys Kolesnikov, a friend and associate who had been tied to Akhmetov since the 1980s, was arrested on charges of extortion and conspiracy to assassinate a rival Donetsk businessman.[40] Charges against Akhmetov and Kolesnikov were dropped in 2006 amid a significant rise in political power by the former,[40] and the cooperation of the Yuschenko government,[42] ending Akhmetov's exile.

SCM GroupEdit

Akhmetov founded System Capital Management Group (JSC "SCM") in 2000, and has been its sole proprietor since 2009.[44] During his career SCM has grown to be one of Ukraine's leading financial and industrial firms[45] with assets including over 100 businesses in metals and mining, power generation, banking and insurance, telecommunications, media and real estate; and revenues of around $12.8 billion and has assets worth over $22.7 billion.[46] The largest company in the SCM Group is Metinvest, which is a mining and steel business and is generally agreed to be Ukraine's largest private business and is one of the larger steel businesses in Europe.

In 2001, Epic, a Vienna-based investment company agreed to purchase 93% of Ukrtelecom, a telephone monopoly owned by SCM, for $1.3 billion.[47]

In June 2004,[48] Akhmetov and Viktor Pinchuk (the son-in-law of then-President Leonid Kuchma) acquired the steel factory Kryvorizhstal for roughly $800 million from the state in a 2004 tender despite much higher bids made by foreign companies.[49] Later, in 2005, the first Tymoshenko Government reversed this sale, and held a nationally televised repeat auction that netted a record-breaking $4.8 billion.[49]

SCM has been recognized as a leader of Ukrainian corporate social responsibility ratings, garnering the top nomination by Gvardiya Magazine's rankings of Ukraine's "Socially Responsible Companies" in 2011. SCM had previously won in 2009,[50] and 2010.[51]

In 2008, UAH 3.4 million was given to compensate the victims and people whose relatives died in the blasts at Akhmetov's Krasnolimanskaya and Karla Marksa coal mines.[52][53] A further UAH 600,000 was given to relatives of 6 miners killed in a methane blast at the Duvannaya coal mine.[54]

Akhmetov's business empire has benefited enormously from his access to power.[55] Forbes reports that in January 2014, for example, his businesses won 31% of all state tenders.[55]

In March 2017, after the DPR leadership announced that it would establish external control over all Ukrainian businesses in the republic's responsibility zone, Akhmetov released a statement saying that his businesses in the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR) would remain under Ukrainian jurisdiction and would not pay taxes to "self-proclaimed LPR and DPR".[56]

In April 2017, a court in Pechersk, Kyiv seized Akhmetov's shares in Ukrtelecom and TriMob, telephony and cellphone companies owned by Akhmetov. The assets seized were part of an investigation into the privatization of Ukrtelecom in 2011 and Akhmetov's ties to Victor Yanukovich, exiled to Russia in 2014. SCM has denied all allegations and issued a statement saying they would defend their ownership rights.[57] On 19 October 2017, the state ruled that Akhmetov was to return all ownership rights to the state and pay a fine of $82 million for failing to fulfill privatization obligations.[58] In December 2017, as part of the Ukrtelecom ownership legal battle, a court in Cyprus issued an order to freeze $820 million in assets held by Akhmetov. In January 2018, a Dutch court issued an order, based on the same litigation, to "freeze SCM's Netherlands-registered businesses, which include Ukraine's largest steel company Metinvest and largest private power and coal producer, DTEK."[59][60]

In June 2018 the Ukraine Supreme Economic Court ruled against the renationalization of Ukrtelecom and Akhemtov controls ownership of the company through SCM Holdings.[61]

In September of the same year Akhmetov was criticized over environmental concerns faced by residents of Mariupol caused by two steel plants, Ilyich Iron and Steel Works Plant and the Azov Stal Steel Plant, both owned by Metinvest.[62]


Akhmetov with Donbas oligarch Serhiy Taruta

Rinat Akhmetov has been number one in Korrespondent magazine annual Ukraine's Top 50 richest people rating with the estimated wealth of:

  • 2006 – $11.8 bn[63]
  • 2007 – $15.6 bn[64]
  • 2008 – $31.1 bn[65]
  • 2009 – $9.6 bn[66]
  • 2010 – $17.8 bn[67]
  • 2011 – $25.6 bn[68]
  • 2012 – $17.8 bn[69]
  • 2013 – $18.3 bn[70]
  • 2014 – $10.1 bn[71]
  • 2019 – $7.7 bn[72]
  • 2020 – $7.7 bn[73]
  • 2021 – $8.5 bn[74]

Forbes' The World's Billionaires rating:

  • 2006 – No. 451 with a net worth of $1.7 bil[75]
  • 2007 – No. 214 with $4.0 bn[76]
  • 2008 – No. 127 with $7.3 bn[77]
  • 2009 – No. 397 with $1.8 bn[78]
  • 2010 – No. 148 with $5.2 bn[79]
  • 2011 – No. 39 with $16 bn.[11]
  • 2012 – No. 39 with $16 bn.[11]
  • 2013 – No. 47 with $15.4 bn.[11]
  • 2015 – No. 201 with $6.7 bn.[80]
  • 2016 – No. 771 with $3.4 bn.[81]
  • 2017 – No. 359 with $4.6 bn[82]
  • 2018 – No. 334 with $5.5 bn[83]
  • 2019 – No. 272 with $6 bn[84]
  • 2020 – No. 875 with $2.4 bn[85]
  • 2021 – No. 327 with $7.6 bn[86]

In 2018 Akhmetov's fortune was valued at approx. $5.9 billion. Bloomberg reported that he was the richest person in Ukraine and that he had regained all of his losses suffered after the conflict with Russia in 2013–2014.[87]

Political activityEdit

Akhmetov has been noted as a financier and unofficial leader of the Party of Regions political party.[33][37]

Following the Orange Revolution, Akhmetov was pivotal in arranging a lasting relationship between his employee and close friend Paul Manafort and defeated presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovich.[88] Also, Akhmetov ensured proper translation services for Manafort through Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russia Army trained linguist and known Russian intelligence operative that operates Manafort's office in Kyiv.[89] Kilimnik has been central to collecting fees owed to Manafort's company by the Russia-friendly political party called Opposition Bloc.[89]

In a 13 September 2007 diplomatic cable released between prominent Ukrainian business partners Serhiy Taruta, Vitaliy Haiduk, and U.S. ambassador William Taylor, Taruta alleged that Akhmetov had in 1997 persuaded Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma to appoint Viktor Yanukovych governor of Donetsk oblast, who then in turn made Haiduk his deputy.[33] In follow up of the released cables, Akhmetov's spokesperson refused comment and Haiduk denied the conversation taking place.[33]

Akhmetov was elected as a member of Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada (parliament) during the 2006 Ukrainian parliamentary election as a member of the Party of Regions.[12][23][90] Akhmetov was reelected during the 2007 parliamentary election again as a member of the Party of Regions.[26][91] However, he only appeared once in the Verkhovna Rada building during his inauguration.[90] Leader of the party's faction in the Verkhovna Rada, Oleksander Yefremov, has mentioned that Rinat Akhmetov provides "substantive support" to the faction by providing what he referred to as "functioning expert groups he established that are counseling on draft laws".[92][93] In December 2011 Akhmetov announced he was not going to participate in the 2012 parliamentary election.[94]

U.S. diplomatic cables revealed that Akhmetov posted $2 million bail in 2007 for the release of three members of the Party of Regions, including former Sumy Governor Volodymyr Shcherban, who was accused of election rigging, extortion, tax evasion and abuse of office.[95]

The Russian-language newspaper Segodnya, owned by Akhmetov, has drawn criticism for its alleged mandate favoring coverage of certain politicians and public figures, the journalists at the paper admitted.[96][97]

Reaction to the south-eastern conflict in UkraineEdit

Akhmetov has denied claims made by Pavel Gubarev (self-proclaimed "People's Governor" of the Donetsk People's Republic) in an interview published in the Russian state-controlled newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta on 12 May 2014.[98][99] According to Gubarev, Akhmetov has financed the separatist movement in the region, and that the separatists "all took money" from Akhmetov and others, saying that "As it turned out, two-thirds of the activists were supported by the oligarch Akhmetov".[98] On 10 May 2014, Akhmetov's Metinvest company announced it would be forming an unarmed militia of steelworker employees to stop looting by separatists and criminals in the city of Mariupol.[98][100] In a 19 May (2014) breaking news message on Ukrayina TV Akhmetov claimed the representative "of this Donetsk People's Republic" were committing "genocide of Donbas".[15] At his initiative the next day a so-called Peace March was held in the stadium Donbass Arena in Donetsk accompanied by cars beeping their horns at noon.[15] Akhmetov has vowed that "siren [will be] ringing every day at noon across all of Donbas until peace is established".[15]

Akhmetov is helping the victims of the War in Donbas in South-Eastern Ukraine. As of March 2014 he had allocated UAH 35 million.[101][102] for this assistance. The Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Centre was established in August 2014 to provide maximum assistance to all civilians of Donetsk and Luhansk Regions affected by the military actions. The Centre has pooled resources of the Foundation and all SCM Group's businesses and FC Shakhtar.[103] The activity of the Centre is dedicated to financial, humanitarian, medical and psychological assistance for the victims of the conflict in the South-Eastern Ukraine and evacuation from the hot spots in the East of Ukraine.[102][104]

In August 2014 Akhmetov's Foundation for Development of Ukraine also started a new particular project called Humanitarian Aid Drives.[105] The purpose of this project is the regular delivery of food and children's packages to Donbas. As of October 2016 over 10 million food packages were provided to IDPs and residents of 57 districts and settlements of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.[106] The package includes flour, sugar, cereals, oats, tinned foods, sunflower oil, stew, pasta, canned corn, gingerbreads and condensed milk.

Akhmetov also made numerous statements, since March 2014, appealing for integrity of Ukraine and finding peaceful solutions of the crisis.[15][107] He believes decentralization should be part of this peaceful solution.[107]

In March 2017 protesters attacked Akhmetov's offices in Russian controlled areas.[108] Pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region seized control of companies owned by energy conglomerate DTEK and steel company Metinvest both owned by Akhmetov. In addition, companies in the region controlled by the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) took control of several Akhmetov owned companies.[109]

Continued protests throughout 2017 have led to allegations of corruption and profiteering between Akhmetov and President Petro Poroshenko specifically over pricing for domestic coal suppliers and the buyout of DTEK debts by the government.[110]

Alleged Coup involvementEdit

In November 2021 Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky accused Akhmetov of being enlisted to help plan a coup against him by Russia.[111] Akhmetov has denied these claims calling the allegations “an absolute lie.” The allegations were the culmination of a dispute between Zelensky and Akhmetov as part of Zelensky anti-corruption clean-up efforts. Akhmetov is also a noted opponent of Zelensky as his TV channels backed one of his opponents in the 2019 election has been increasing critical in coverage of Zelensky. Espically, since the government failed to reimburse one of his energy company subsidiaries for green energy purchased by state companies. [112][113]

Sports and patronageEdit

Akhmetov with players of FC Shakhtar Donetsk

Following the mysterious October 1995 bombing assassination of former team president Akhat Bragin at the team's stadium, Akhmetov (who had served as Bragin's right-hand man and himself narrowly missed the attempt on his life),[114] subsequently inherited operation of the Shakhtar Donetsk football club. On 11 October 1996, Akhmetov was appointed president of the team[115] and began investing heavily in both players and their training facilities. Under his command, FC Shakhtar became Ukrainian Premier League Champions in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017; Domestic Cup champions in 1997, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017; Super-Cup in 2005, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017; and UEFA Cup in 2009.[115]

In 2009, Donbass Arena stadium was built in Donetsk at Rinat Akhmetov's initiative. It is the first stadium in Eastern Europe that was designed and built to the elite UEFA standards; its seating capacity holds over 50,000 persons.[116] Rinat Akhmetov had dreamt about such a stadium long before Ukraine had acquired the right to host EURO 2012.

Due to the War in Donbas in Ukraine FC Shakhtar moved to Kyiv. Since May 2014 the team is based in Kyiv and plays their home games in Lviv.[117] Meanwhile, the club's home stadium Donbass Arena in August 2014 became a center of humanitarian aid in Donetsk. Volunteers unload the food products, form the individual sets and pass them to people in need there.[118] During the fighting the Donbass Arena was seriously damaged as a result of shelling several times, the humanitarian aid distribution was continued.[119]

In March 2017, a spokesperson for Akhmetov's foundation reported that humanitarian aid had been discontinued in the region after rebel organizations blocked access to the Shakhtar FC stadium, which serves as a center for relief efforts in the area.[120]

Personal lifeEdit

Rinat Akhmetov is married to Liliya Nikolaievna Smirnova (born 1965), and has two sons with her, Damir (born 1988) and Almir (born 1997).[12]

Akhmetov owns London's most expensive penthouse at One Hyde Park, which was originally purchased for a reported $213 million as a portfolio investment and spent another reported $120 million to fix them up.[121] The information about the deal was disclosed only four years later, in April 2011, after the asset has shown a steady annual rise.[122][123][124] In May 2013, the property was transferred from his company, SCM, to himself.[125]


Akhmetov is involved with charities that support Ukrainian citizens.[126] Akhmetov established the Foundation for Development of Ukraine in 2005, which is "determined to eliminate the roots of social problems" in Ukraine.[127] In 2008, it has been reported that within next 5 years the Organization planned to spend $150 million to fulfill its programs.[128] In 2007, Akhmetov founded the Foundation for Effective Governance (FEG)[129] to support economic development of Ukraine. Founded with a goal to improve the standard of living of each Ukrainian citizen;[130] it was shut down in January 2014 amid protests against Akhmetov.[131]

In 2008, Akhmetov donated UAH 258,600 million to charity, that made him the No.2 in a list of top ten businessmen who donated for charity in 2008.[132] In the following year, Ukrainian business weekly "Kontrakty" named Akhmetov the top businessmen-philanthropist in Ukraine.[133] In 2010, Akhmetov's total charitable contributions amounted to UAH 155,65 million, making him No. 1 philanthropist in Ukraine.[134] For 2011, Akhmetov donated UAH 222.7 million to charity.[135] Starting from the year 2000, Rinat Akhmetov and his friend Igor Krutoy have been involved in a charity campaign on Saint Nicholas' Day in Donetsk and Donetsk Oblast, visiting children deprived of parental care, orphans and children in hospitals.[136] In 2012, he donated $19 million to build an oncology research center.[137]

Akhmetov' salary for being a member of Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada (parliament) was traditionally deferred to charity.[130]

Notable donationsEdit

  • In October 2007, nearly $900,000 was donated to families of victims of a gas explosion that tore through an apartment complex in Dnipropetrovsk.[138]
  • In April 2011, Rinat Akhmetov decided to allocate $1 million to support the "Shelter Project", for construction of the new safe confinement to cover reactor No. 4 at Chernobyl.[139][140][141]
  • In April 2011, after the earthquake in Japan in March 2011, FC Shakhtar Donetsk donated 1 million U.S. dollars to victims of the disaster,[142][143] saying "this is a terrible tragedy and its scope is really international. The Ukrainians, who experienced Chernobyl, understand Japanese people. Unfortunately, we cannot return thousands of lives, but what we can really help those, who survived and stayed alive."[144]
  • Since September 2014, during the War in Donbas, his staff provided more than 12 million food packages to residents of the Donbas, helped over 1,150,000 people, and evacuated over 39,000 people from the conflict zone.[145]

In 2016, Akhmetov as owner of football team Shaktar Donetsk, visited children's hospitals and orphanages on St Nicholas Day, delivering gifts to nearly 140,000 children.[citation needed]



During the 2013–14 Euromaidan anti-government protests, Akhmetov became a target of protest as he was seen as a symbol of oppression. In December 2013 protesters picketed his residence in London on several occasions, urging him to cut ties with incumbent president Viktor Yanukovych.[146] In response, Akhmetov issued a statement condemning police brutality. On 31 December, Akhmetov reprimanded a group of protesters in public near his home in Donetsk.[147]

Following the Euromaidan revolution Akhmetov lost more than half of his wealth. His net value went down from $11.2 billion to $2.9 billion in 2017.[148] News reports suggest that much of his former wealth has been redistributed to Russian oligarchs.[149]

Disputes in the mediaEdit

When dealing with public criticism and allegations concerning his past, Akhmetov has utilized a team of PR consultants and lawyers to protect his image and name. His team often contests reports on him that they consider to be libelous, scandalous, or inaccurate. To date, his legal team has obtained many retractions, apologies, and libel settlements.[25] Critics accuse Akhmetov of going beyond protecting his name, but rather fear mongering investigative journalists.[25] As many court cases occur in London for its lax free speech laws, critics accuse Akhmetov and his legal team of abuse of libel tourism.[25] In January 2008, Akhmetov won a London libel court case "for damage to his reputation" for such claims,[28] while several other statements about his "criminal past" have been retracted by the media.

In a statement issued by Akhmetov's lawyer Mark MacDougall, "Akhmetov has done a lot of work to protect his good name from false accusations, which might hurt the reputation of his family and business. As the result of it, many publications in Ukraine and other European countries had published retractions and apologies… [and] admitted that their claims are false. We think that these facts speak for themselves".[28]

In 2007, the Kyiv Post, the primary English language daily newspaper in Ukraine, published an article relating to Mr. Akhmetov's business transactions relating to the Dniproenergo thermoelectric generator and the Kryvorizhstal steel mill.[150] The newspaper published an apology stating that "on closer examination, we concluded these allegations[clarification needed] relating to Mr. Akhmetov were untrue and have no basis in fact."[150]

In 2007, the German language Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung ("NZZ") retracted defamatory statements from published earlier article regarding Mr. Akhmetov's early business career in the 1990s, noting that "there is no connection between Akhmetov … and organized crime in Ukraine" and "[t]he economic success of Akhmetov is not based by any means on criminally acquired starting capital."[29]

In 2008, a judgment was obtained from the High Court of Justice in London after Obozrevatel, a Ukrainian language Internet publication refused to retract false and libelous statements alleging that Mr. Akhmetov was connected to criminal activity and violence. The Obozrevatel reporter (Tetiana Chornovol)[151] interviewed his former classmates and neighbors, and delved into his early years.[25] Following court pressure Obozrevatel issued an official apology stating: "The editorial hereby admits that there was unchecked and false information about Rinat Akhmetov present in the … articles … We hereby give our apologies to Rinat Akhmetov for the problems resulted from the above-mentioned publications."[152][153] Tetiana Chornovol, who has political ambitions, refused to issue an apology or acknowledge any wrongdoing.[151]

The website GoLocalProv.com, based in Providence, Rhode Island, published in 2010 allegations that Akhmetov had ties to organized crime.[154] Subsequently, PolitiFact engaged in a review of the allegations on GoLocalProv's site and disputed the sources on which they were based, stating that "key elements of the [GoLocalProv] story are false or unproven" and that the story presented "suspicions, suggestions, innuendo, and conspiracy theories" as fact.[154] The GoLocalProv articles and audio shortly after their publishing were removed from the site. The publisher, Josh Fenton, explained that they disappeared for "technical reasons" and the radio station which aired the interview containing the allegations refused comment.[25]

In 2010, the French daily newspaper Le Figaro issued a retraction of false allegations it published on 18 January 2010 regarding Rinat Akhmetov, due to a lack of evidence to support their claims, and issued an apology.[155][156][157] Le Figaro had claimed that Akhmetov was "a scandalous Ukrainian oligarch" and that he was "a bandit in the past".[157]

In 2013, Akhmetov's legal representatives issued a press release in response to accusations in the media, which cited politicians and journalists, that implicated Akhmetov in the 1996 murder of Donetsk-based Ukrainian oligarch Yevhen Shcherban. The official statement stated that they "have not found any proof suggesting that Akhmetov was involved in Scherban's or other businessmen's killings. To be honest, some of the businessmen killed in the 1990s were Mr. Akhmetov's close friends."[158]

Connection to Donald Trump's 2016 campaignEdit

In January 2019, Paul Manafort's lawyers submitted a filing to the court, in response to the Robert Mueller Special Counsel's accusation that Manafort had lied to investigators while supposedly co-operating with the investigation. Through an error in redacting, the document accidentally revealed that while Manafort was Donald Trump's campaign chairman, Manafort met with Konstantin Kilimnik, gave Kilimnik polling data related to Donald Trump's 2016 United States Presidential campaign, and discussed a Ukraine-Russia peace plan for the Russo-Ukrainian War with Kilimnik. As a Russian Main Intelligence Directorate GRU agent, Konstantin Kilimnik is known member of Russia's intelligence community.[159][a] Although most of the polling data was reportedly public, some was private Trump campaign polling data managed by Brad Parscale.[162][163][b] Manafort asked Kilimnik to pass the data to Ukrainians Serhiy Lyovochkin and Rinat Akhmetov.[164][165]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Manafort has rejected questions about whether Kilimnik, with whom he consulted regularly, might be in league with Russian intelligence.[160] According to Yuri Shvets, Kilimnik previously worked for the GRU, and every bit of information about Kilimnik's work with Manafort went directly to Russian intelligence.[161]
  2. ^ Eric Trump's wife, Lara (née Yunaska) Trump, was the liaison between Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign headquarters in Trump Tower and Brad Parscale's Giles-Parscale company.[162][163]


  1. ^ Kuzio, Taras (April 2005). "The Opposition's Road to Success". Journal of Democracy. The Johns Hopkins University Press. 16 (2): 124. doi:10.1353/jod.2005.0028. S2CID 144409734.
  2. ^ Eight Ukrainians make Forbes magazine's list of world billionaires, Kyiv Post (2 February 2015)
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  169. ^ Ukrainian Government, Указ Президента України (Edict of the President of Ukraine), Документ 598/2002, 2 July 2002 (Edict 598/2002 as of 2 July 2002), Про відзначення державними нагородами України спортсменів та керівників акціонерного товариства "Футбольний клуб "Шахтар", м. Донецьк (State awards to Ukrainian athletes and the heads of "FC" Shakhtar "Donetsk), 2 July 2002.
  170. ^ Ukrainian Government, Указ Президента України (Edict of the President of Ukraine), Документ 1152/1999, 10 September 1999 (Edict 1152/1999 as of 10 September 1999), Про присвоєння почесного звання "Заслужений працівник фізичної культури і спорту України" працівникам Донецької області , м. Донецьк (Cconferring the honorary title "Honored Worker of Physical Culture and Sports of Ukraine" to the workers of Donetsk), 2 July 2002.
  171. ^ Associated Press of Pakistan Archived 27 November 2012 at WebCite, 154 citizens, 17 foreign nationals conferred civil awards, 13 August 2007.
  172. ^ 24UA Ахметова наградили премией "Признание дончан" (Akhmetov was awarded the "Shakhtar Recognition" prize), 17 January 2008.
  173. ^ Foundation for Development of Ukraine, 16 January 2008, Rinat Akhmetov announced Donetsk Citizens Recognition Prize winner in the nomination "Caring for the future". (See also news archive[permanent dead link]).
  174. ^ Украинское рейтинговое агентство (Ukrainian Rating Agency) Archived 31 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, 12 August 2006, Президент получил официальные атрибуты Почетного гражданина Донецка (The President received formal accreditation as an honorary citizen of Donetsk)

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