Ukrainian tycoon arrested in French resort in bank investigation

Kostiantyn Zhevago was detained on an international arrest warrant

The Ukrainian businessman was arrested at the Courchevel ski resort in the French Alps. AFP.
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A Ukrainian businessman and former politician suspected of embezzling more than $100 million has been arrested at a luxury ski resort in the French Alps, Ukrainian authorities have said.

French police arrested Kostiantyn Zhevago in a hotel in Courchevel on Tuesday on an international warrant, Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigations said.

It said Mr Zhevago had a court appearance in Chambery scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday as a first step towards extradition.

The Chambery prosecutor’s office is awaiting documents from Ukraine to support the extradition demand, and would not comment further.

Mr Zhevago was the principal beneficiary of Ukraine’s now-defunct Finance and Credit Bank and the former chief executive of mining company Ferrexpo.

The company is among the world’s top exporters of iron-ore pellets and had an operating base in central Ukraine.

Mr Zhevago served in the Ukrainian Parliament from 1998 to 2019, mainly as an independent.

In 2019, Ukrainian authorities launched a criminal case accusing him and other top managers of Finance and Credit Bank of jointly embezzling more than $100 million.

The investigations bureau said the scheme harmed “the interests of the state and the bank’s depositors".

Ukraine issued an arrest warrant for Zhevago in 2019, with an international warrant issued in 2021.

Mr Zhevago’s properties, companies linked to him and other assets in Ukraine were seized.

The arrest was announced as France’s Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu visited Ukraine to show French military support for Ukrainian forces.

Mr Lecornu's office said the arrest had no link to the visit, which was the first by a French defence chief since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Updated: December 28, 2022, 9:21 PM