FBI agents raid offices of owner of several high-rises in downtown Cleveland

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– FBI agents raided the downtown Cleveland offices belonging to the owner of several city high-rises as part of an investigation connected to a billionaire Ukrainian oligarch.

Federal agents seized evidence and removed dozens of boxes and computer equipment from the office of Optima Management Group inside the 31-story One Cleveland Center building Tuesday morning.

FBI spokesperson Vicki Anderson said the case is under seal and she could not divulge details, but she confirmed the search was part of a joint investigation between the FBI and IRS.

Sources told FOX 8 News the investigation involves money laundering and financial fraud. No one has yet been charged.

“No one is being taken into custody, no assets are being frozen, nothing like that today,” Anderson said. “These investigations often take a long time and just because you see activity now doesn’t mean something’s going to happen next week.”

Anderson confirmed FBI agents simultaneously raided the company’s office in Miami, Florida.

Cuyahoga County property records show Optima affiliates purchased One Cleveland Center for more than $86 million and 55 Public Square for $34 million in 2008 and purchased what’s now the Westin Hotel property for $9 million in 2011.

An Optima affiliate bought the former Huntington Bank building at East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue for $18.5 million and another purchased the AECOM building for $46.5 million in 2010. Both properties have since been sold.

Optima is tied to politically connected Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, a billionaire who formerly owned PrivatBank in Ukraine before it was nationalized in 2016.

In 2019, the bank filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Kolomoisky, several of his associates, and the Optima group affiliates in Cleveland.

The lawsuit alleges they used PrivatBank “as their own personal piggy bank,” issued fraudulent loans and used the Cleveland properties “to launder hundreds of millions of dollars” into the U.S.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio declined to comment.    

Calls and emails to Optima representatives and Kolomoisky’s attorney have not been returned.

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