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FBI raids Miami office during probe into billionaire’s alleged money laundering

MIAMI – FBI agents raided a 55th-floor office overlooking Biscayne Bay on Tuesday in downtown Miami. The search for evidence is part of a money-laundering investigation related to alleged bank fraud in Ukraine, a source with the FBI said.

The case related to the raid is under seal. Federal agents were at the Southeast Financial Center tower office that two Miami businessmen, Mordechai “Motti’” Korf and Uriel “Uri” Laber, use to run several companies. No one was detained during the raid.

Korf and Laber are prominent members of the Orthodox Jewish Hasidic community in South Florida and live in Miami Beach. They haven’t been charged with any crimes, and the FBI spokesperson did not confirm they were the subject of the investigation.

‘OPTIMA SCHEMES’ LINK

FBI Cleveland Special Agent Vicki Anderson told Cleveland’s ABC News affiliate the raid in Miami was connected to a raid at the offices of The Optima Management Group, a commercial real estate management and investment firm based in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Optima Management Group is partly owned by Ihor Kolomoyskyi, a Cypriot-Ukrainian billionaire with Israeli citizenship. Kolomoyskyi was allegedly involved in the $5.5 billion fraud at the largest commercial bank in Ukraine, an accusation he has denied.

Attorneys of the Ukrainian commercial bank, filed a lawsuit in Delaware last year against Kolomoyskyi, Korf, Laber, and some companies registered under Korf and Laber in Florida such as Optima International of Miami and Georgian American Alloys.

The bank accused them of being part of the “Optima Schemes” by using about $780 million from fraudulent corporate loans to set up shell companies to buy assets in the U.S.

Optima International of Miami was founded in 1995, and in 1996 Korf was registered as the president and Laber as the vice president.

Some of the companies Korf and Laber have registered at 200 South Biscayne Blvd., Suite 5500, where the raid took place on Tuesday, include Optima Fixed Income, Optima Industrial Management and Optima Highland.

Kolomoyskyi, Korf and Laber have all disputed the accusations.

‘UKRAINEGATE’ CONNECTION

Kolomoyskyi is also known for accusing former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, of orchestrating a conspiracy against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Giuliani then accused Kolomoisky of threatening two of his clients, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two South Florida businessmen who were born in the Soviet Union.


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