In the United States, the steel plant owned by the Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, that has not worked since 2016, burned down. Firefighters and prosecutors suspect arson. Just a few days before the fire, law enforcement agencies stepped up an investigation into the company's pollution of the environment with toxic substances stored in it. This was reported by the American investigative reporter Michael Sallah and the Ukrainian journalist Tetiana Kozyreva.
The fire broke out on 11 August. The oligarch's plant was located in Trumbull County, Ohio. According to the press service of the local fire service, when firefighters arrived at the fire scene, they found that almost none of the hydrants were working, which made it difficult to extinguish it. In general, the battle against fire lasted six hours.
"We could probably have handled it much faster if the hydrants were working, because there were several of them right in the building," said local fire chief Joe Natalie. In addition, Sallah, citing a source, indicated that apart from problems with the hydrants, the power was out at the plant, and there was no lightning that night.
"We do believe it was intentionally set," said Brian Bohnert of fire marshal's office.
Sallah also reported that two days before the incident, the state's attorney's office had stepped up efforts to investigate massive environmental pollution. We are talking about toxic waste from the plant, which was discharged into the local river.
In the USA, environmental pollution is severely punished. According to Ecobusiness Group, environmental legislation in the country involves not only heavy fines, but also criminal liability. Water pollution is classified as a grave crime; for committing it, the offender faces a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment for up to 15 years, or both punishments at the same time. If the violator is a legal entity, the amount of the fine may be increased to $1 million. Three years of imprisonment is provided for intentional pollution or discharge of pollutants into the water without a certificate; deliberate destruction, concealment, or falsification of data about harmful substances and materials stored or subject to processing.
Context. In April of this year, the Pittsburgh newspaper Post-Gazette published an investigation into the possible schemes of the Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky and his partner Hennadiy Boholyubov in the United States. Journalists believe that the partners bought various real estate in the country for money siphoned from Privatbank.
"By 2011, Kolomoisky and his partners acquired about a dozen properties in Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan, and Kentucky. By 2015, Kolomoisky and his partners in the United States owned 13 steel mills, 5 office high-rises, a hotel, two office parks, and a closed Motorola plant with two helicopter sites," the investigation said.
The document states that due to negligence, cost savings and unsafe behaviour at factories in Ohio, two explosions occurred. A large number of serious violations were found on a number of assets that were not eliminated even after dangerous incidents.