Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, hands media licences to the state

Rinat Akhmetov

Rinat Akhmetov, the richest man in Ukraine, has announced that his investment company SCM will exit Media Group Ukraine in accordance with recent laws in the country to curb the influence of oligarchs.

The move, which has been praised by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office, will see Media Group Ukraine hand over its licences for TV and print media to the state, while it will also cease online media.

In a statement, Akhmetov said: “I made an involuntary decision that my investment company SCM will exit its media business. 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.”

The billionaire added that SCM has been unable to sell its media business on market terms due to a combination of the Russian invasion and a six-month deadline set by the anti-oligarch legislation for the sale of media assets.

While critics have panned the legislation as largely cosmetic, presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak has called Akhmetov’s announcement as evidence of “the beginning of a new page in relations between the state and business.”

Media Group Ukraine’s portfolio includes two of the country’s most popular channels – Ukraine and Ukraine 24. Its news output was highly critical of Zelenskyy in the build up to the invasion, and had fought against the anti-oligarch law. Zelenskyy in late 2021 accused the Russian state of trying to pull Akhmetov into a coup against him, though the billionaire called this a lie.

Read Next