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One of the wealthiest oligarchs in Ukraine and a former governor in one of the country’s regions are reportedly mining bitcoin in a factory located in the U.S.
Ukrainian Businessmen Are Reportedly Running Crypto Mining Operations at US Factory
Per Radio Free Europe (known also as Radio Liberty), Igor Kolomoisky is said to be using the facilities of a factory owned by CC Metals & Alloys (CCMA) in Kentucky to mine bitcoin (BTC), allowing him to use cheap electricity prices. However, the plant shut down its ferrosilicon production operations back in July due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the report, despite most of the staff being expected to return to work at the end of the year, they were told that the rest of the staff would be fired, but the mining equipment will still be running within its facilities.
The 70-year-old factory is owned by Kolomoisky — who also has links with Ukraine’s current president, Volodymir Zelenskiy — and his business partner, Hennadiy Bogolyubov.
On-Site Operations Are Now Focused on Crypto Mining
Under the condition of anonymity, employees of the company told Radio Free Europe that one of the factory’s warehouses is now filled with computers that “mine” cryptocurrencies.
CCMA is one of only three plants in the U.S. that produces ferrosilicon, an alloy of iron and silicon, used primarily in steelmaking to increase its strength.
Although the plant has been profitable since its foundation, employees said they believe the owners “mismanaged the plant” and tried to run it from Miami instead of running it on-site, reducing its portfolio. That’s why the Ukrainian businessmen reportedly embarked on the crypto business, claimed employees.
The report adds that crypto mining operations work independently of the plant itself, and it has not been affected by the cuts.
Radio Free Europe said that the CCMA plant had invited a third party to install a computer center operating in its field of artificial intelligence and blockchain technology to diversify profits. Moreover, Kentucky is well-known for its low electricity costs, making it a preferred destination for other crypto mining facilities.
Oligarchs Under Investigation
But both Kolomoisky and Bogolyubov are also controversial figures in Ukraine, as they’re under the investigation of the U.S. Department of Justice, who alleges that the oligarchs fraudulently took billionaire loans from Privatbank in 2008-2016 and laundered these funds through front companies, including real state, steel and iron plants in the United States.