18 Jan 2019 19:34

Ukrainian presidential contender entertainer Zelenskiy denies accusations of owning business in Russia

KYIV. Jan 18 (Interfax) - Entertainer Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who had announced his intention to run for president in Ukraine, owns a movie enterprise in Russia, although he had stated it was closed in 2014, according to a report on the journalistic investigation published in Kyiv.

Zelenskiy denied this information.

"Three Russian companies Vaisberg Pictures, Platinumfilm and Green Films produce films and television programs. Cyprus' Green Family Ltd is the founder of all three of them. The same company is a co-founder of OOO Kvartal 95 in Ukraine, and Volodymyr Zelenskiy, his business partners Andriy Iakovev, Borys and Serhiy Shefyr, and associate of Ihor Kolomoyskyi Timur Mindych are listed as its ultimate beneficiaries," according to the investigation of the Skhemi television program, a joint project of Radio Liberty and the UA: Pershyi television channel.

According to the Skhemi program, financial accounts of these Russian companies show that they all continue their business. According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, about $13 million (over 350 million hryvni) were transferred to Green Films' accounts in 2014-2017.

According to the investigation, Green Films continued producing films in Russia following the events in Crimea and Donbas in 2014, as evidenced by the Russian register of film distribution certificates. The films it produced are "Mezdhu Nami, Devochkami" (2015), "Petlya Nesterova" (2015), and "Vosem Luchshykh Svidaniy" (2016).

The investigation also states that Green Films has recently won a competition for partial funding from the Russian budget in the production of a movie.

Zelenskiy denied accusations of conducting business in Russia in a video posted on his Facebook page. "We don't work in Russia after the things Russia did to Ukraine. We don't travel there, I don't perform there, they even opened a criminal case against me because I and the Kvartal 95 company helped out army financially," he said.

"Our company does indeed hold many various rights, we trade with 21 countries, with all CIS countries. [...] We sell intellectual property rights. [...] Revenues from royalties, from sales of their rights are received by various foreign companies and they return them to Ukraine and Ukraine is where we spend this money: on our employees, on the production of our content, we work only in our country," he said.

According to latest polls in Ukraine, Zelenskiy is among three leaders of the electoral race, alongside Batkyvshchyna party leader Yulia Tymoshenko and incumbent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.