KIEV, May 7. /TASS/. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is questioning top managers of Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov’s companies over recent coalminers’ protests, SBU Head Valentin Nalivaichenko said on Thursday.
"The SBU is investigating cases of illegal financing provided from abroad for the provocative actions held under the guise of so-called coalminers’ protests," Nalivaichenko said.
Ukraine’s Security Service has detained several couriers suspected of bringing money to pay protest action participants, the SBU head said.
"We have sent subpoenas to the management of one of the companies [owned by Akhmetov]. Investigators are questioning these managers as part of this criminal case," he added.
Several pickets were held in Kiev in April mostly by coalminers who gathered in front of the buildings of the Ukrainian parliament, the government and the presidential administration, demanding, in particular, the resignation of Fuel and Energy Minister Vladimir Demchishin.
Akhmetov, Ukraine's richest man, derives profits from more than 90 Ukrainian enterprises controlled by the country’s largest management company, System Capital Management.
Akhmetov’s major assets include Azovstal steelmaker, the Mariupol Iron and Steel Works, the Khartsyz Pipe Plant, First Ukrainian International Bank, Aska insurance company, Segodnya Multimedia publishing holding, TRK Ukraina TV Channel, Astelit mobile firm operating under Life brand name, Shakhtyor football club and the Gefest network of filling stations.
Enterprises managed by System Capital Management employ over 160,000 people.