The independent investigation by “Skhemy’ media group brings into spotlight business operations of Oleksandr Lukashenko’s ally in Ukraine.
The backstory on Mykola Vorobey and his alleged involvement with Taras Kozak escape.
Mykola Vorobey is a Belarusian businessman and owner of “Naftobitum’ oil retail company and ‘Absolutbank’ who was sanctioned by the EU in 2020 as a close ally of Oleksandr Lukashenko.
The Belarus oligarch’s two sons from the first marriage are residing in Ukraine and are reportedly involved in his business dealings.
He was also listed along with ‘Opposition Platform for Life’ Viktor Medvedchuk among the owners of the oil products’ pipeline that is now reclaimed by the Ukrainian government.
Viktor Medvedchuk earlier dismissed the claims he was sharing the business with Mykola Vorobey, insisting that they were ‘just friends’ having ‘no shared business interests’.
On February 19, Ukraine’s Security Council froze the assets of Viktor Medvedchuk and his business partner Taras Kozak shutting down their three TV channels – 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and Zik.
‘Skhemy’ investigation found Taras Kozak used Mykola Vorobey’s bank in Belarus for earlier transactions securing a purchase of these TV channels.
The media report also revealed that Taras Kozak used Mykola Vorobey’’s private plane for his February trips to Moscow.
“After Kozak was sanctioned, he flew to Moscow two times. The second time he was going on Ferbruary 24. According to our sources, the plane carrying Kozak was turned back when it was already on a runaway. Kozak and other passengers were made to return to the terminal. But eventually they were let go to fly to Minsk, and then Moscow. Kozak must have felt something was wrong and chose to stay in Russia,’ explains the ‘Skhemy’ reporter Mykhaylo Tkach.
Official Kyiv is failing to address the issue of Vorobey controversial businesses in Ukraine that help him to prop up the regime of Lukashenko and profiteer from illegal fuel retail operations in occupied Donbas, says the media report citing the evidence to the latter claims.
- He still earns money on fuel retail b the pipeline the government took back by registering a new company NT Marine in Estonia
- His companies worked with Novoshakhtynsk oil products plant that was sanctioned by State Security Council after the revelation it was supplying oil products to occupied Donbas
- Vorobey’c companies control 40% of Ukraine’s diesel exports shipped from Russia by his ‘BelKazTrans’ shipping company
Vorobey is also involved in coal imports from Russia.
‘In March of 2020 direct coal imports from Russia was again made possible but this time under the condition that major importers should use freight services of a certain company. It is called ‘BelKazTrans Ukraine’. The Ukrainian company is owned by Mykola Vorobey’s son. This makes such men as Akhmetov and Pinchuk pay Vorobey for coal freights to Ukraine.’
Mykola Vorobey earns money on Zelensky’s ‘Big Construction’ infrastructre projects
According to ‘Skhemy’ findings, the close ally of Lukashenko is also involved with the state infrastructure project “Big Construction’ that was launched on the initiative from the Ukrainian president.
‘Road bitumen from Vorobey’s Belarus plant goes to his son’s company that later sells it to ‘Big Construction’ contractors at a higher price. Overall, sales of bitumen to the state project [constructors] brought the family of the Belarus oligarch about 320 million hryvnas,’ claims the media report.
The last year saw a considerable increase of bitumen supplies from Vorobey’s production in Belarus with its freight secured by the oligarch’s son company ‘BelKazTrans Ukraine’.