Ukrainian-Jewish billionaire Igor Kolomoisky sues Russia

Cnaan Liphshiz

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Ukrainian-Jewish billionaire Igor Kolomoisky sued Russia in an international court over his inability to operate an airport in Crimea.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration, a Hague-based intergovernmental organization with 117 member states, announced on Wednesday that it would review the lawsuit, Reuters reported.

Kolomoisky, a Ukrainian nationalist who funded military actions in the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, and Aeroport Belbek sued the Russian Federation for compensation over what they say is their exclusion from operating a commercial passenger terminal at Sevastopol International Airport.

Russia invaded and annexed Crimea last year. Kolomoisky is wanted for questioning in Russia in connection with accusations that he is responsible for war crimes – a charge he has denied. Kolomoisky accused Russia of crimes against humanity.

At the Hague-based court, the claimants say Russia deprived them of their right to operate a passenger terminal at the airport and that Russia had thereby violated a bilateral investment treaty.

Kolomoisky’s company held a contract to operate a passenger terminal at Crimea’s Sevastopol International Airport until 2020. He wants Russia to compensate him for income lost after he was deprived of use of the facility.

Kolomoisky has estimated his losses linked to the airport, near Belbek in Crimea, at $15 million, according to Ukrainian media reports.

Russia annexed Crimea following the ousting in a revolution of the government of Viktor Yanukovych, whom critics accused of corruption and of being a Kremlin stooge. After his ousting, a revolutionary government appointed Kolomoisky to serve as governor of the strategic Dnepropetrovsk region in Ukraine’e east. He was removed from that position last year amid a dispute with Ukraine’s new president, Petro Poroshenko.

Separately, Kolomoisky’s former deputy governor, Gennady Korban, who is also Jewish, is standing trial in Kiev for allegedly orchestrating abductions of political rivals and fraud, though he denies any wrongdoing.

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