Dzerkalo Tyzhnia quoted its source as saying the money came from backers of Ukrainian billionaire Kostyantyn Zhevago, who was arrested in France in December at Kyiv’s request in relation to embezzlement charges.
The businessman told the court he did nothing wrong and should not be extradited.
The money had come from supporters of a court decision in April that favoured pellet producer Ferrexpo, Dzerkalo Tyzhnia quoted its source as saying. It said another 18 Supreme Court judges who heard the Ferrexpo case were now being searched.
The case addressed a repurchase of about 40.2 per cent of shares in the company’s Ukraine subsidiary, Ferrexpo Poltava Mining, which was sold to Zhevago and other parties.
Ukraine’s state security agency also has served businessman Dmytro Firtash and top managers of companies he controls with “notices of suspicion” of embezzlement, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said in a statement.
The SBU said that, acting with the Economic Security Bureau (BEB), it had uncovered the alleged theft of up to $US485 million between 2016 and 2022 as part of a “large-scale scheme” involving the country’s gas transit system.
“Effectively we are talking about the embezzlement of money from ordinary Ukrainians who paid their utility bills,” the statement said.
While fighting Russia’s invasion, Ukraine has also been seeking to reduce the political influence enjoyed by some businessmen since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
A statement issued by Firtash’s company, Group DF, “firmly and categorically” rejected all the allegations as without legal foundation.
It said the company and its legal advisers would “vigorously defend the interests of its businesses, personnel, and the shareholder in both Ukrainian and international courts.”
The statement said the group had suffered losses linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and “will continue to support the defence effort against the Russian aggression”.
Ukraine imposed sanctions on Firtash last June, accusing him of selling titanium products that Kyiv said ended up being used by Russian military enterprises. Firtash denies the allegations.
Firtash, 58, has been indicted in the United States on bribery and racketeering charges. He denied wrongdoing and has fought extradition from Vienna.
Meanwhile, multiple explosions were heard in Kyiv early Tuesday, as Russia launched an intense air attack on the capital using a combination of drones, cruise missiles and possible ballistic missiles. It was the eighth Russian attack on the capital this month. Ukraine said it intercepted all 18 incoming missiles.
The attack was “exceptional in its density – the maximum number of attacking missiles in the shortest period of time,” said Serhii Popko, the head of the Kyiv Military Administration.
Ukraine has been reforming its court system since 2014 after massive street rallies toppled the government of president Viktor Yanukovych. A key demand of the protesters was that the authorities confront corruption that had become entrenched in the years after the country became independent after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Allies have also urged Ukraine to speed up reforms in exchange for financial support and stronger ties.