In a clear bid to avoid being branded an oligarch the days before Zelensky’s anti-oligarch policy made effective, Ukraine’s richest man Rinat Akhmetov said he was exiting the media business by handing over the Ukrainian government the corporate rights to his media group that includes the most viewed TV channels – Ukraina and Ukraina 24.

In a statement on his SCM corporate site, Akmetov said:

Being the largest private investor in the Ukrainian economy, I have repeatedly stated that I have never been and am not going to be an oligarch. A short six-month term provided for by the Law for the sale of media assets, coupled with the Russian military aggression against Ukraine make it impossible for SCM to sell its media business on market terms.

The Ukrainian billionaire argued he  invested more than US$1.5 billion in the media business, giving credit to the media company workers who helped his news and sports channels’ viewership ratings soar over the years.

Akhmetov media empire included over 10 TV channels with Ukraine and Ukraine24, and three Fooball channels remaining the most valid assets thanks to wide audience and programming hits.