Pakistani-British businessman and former Kyiv Post owner Mohammad Zahoor has made headlines again, with his decision to buy fighter jets for Ukraine. But this is not the only time Zahoor was the talk of the town. Earlier in the 1990s he was also probed for fraud and misappropriation of funds and later, his name appeared in the Panama Papers pertaining to Ukraine. In 2015, Ukraine’s weekly magazine, Focus had marked Zahoor’s net worth at $500 million.
On May 18th 2020, news broke in the cybersphere that Mohammad Zahoor had bought two fighter jets for Ukraine, to help in their war against Russia. On Wednesday Ukraine’s TSN reported that Zahoor’s wife, Ukrainian singer Kamaliya Zahoor appeared in the program ‘Morning with Ukraine’ and announced that her husband gave two fighter jets to Ukraine to help fight the war with Russia which has now entered its 12th week.
Formerly, Zahoor was a formidable figure in the Ukranian media. Born in 1955, at the age of 19 he first headed to Ukraine on a Pakistan steel mills scholarship to study metallurgy after which he returned back to his homeland only to go back when the Iron Curtain fell in 1991.The same year, he invested in steel and set up ISTIL Group – originally a producer and trader of steel and steel products, ISTIL has now diversified its portfolio, holding investments in growth industries and sectors across the world.
However, back in 1998, Mohammad Zahoor turned up as a principal target of an investigation linking Ukrainian politicians to a fraud investigation involving the United Energy Systems of Ukraine, which has been long drawn out for almost 15 years now. During the investigation it was discovered that two companies owned by Zahoor appeared to have a documentary trail connecting them to the fraudulent Ukrainian politicians. This was extensively reported by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).
One of these companies, Metalsrussia Group Ltd, was later renamed to ISTIL Group. And the authorized capital of the company as per a certificate of incumbency attached here was $5 million. Another one of his companies South East Asia Metal Limited owned a majority stake in one of the oldest metallurgic enterprises in southeastern Ukraine, the Donetsk metallurgical plant.
Eventually the police case against him was dropped for a lack of evidence but Zahoor’s name was listed among two dozen individuals related to Ukraine who were revealed in the hoard of documents called the Panama Papers in 2016.
He was also involved in mobilizing funds for the aid and resettlement of Ukrainian refugees and is also currently constructing a £1m housing project in Germany.
Leave a Reply