doj by the Forward

DOJ moves to seize property bought by donors to Jewish nonprofits

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint last week to seize property that was bought by two influential Jewish nonprofit donors in Florida who are accused of laundering money from Ukraine.

The two men were the subject of a Forward investigation last February.

The Justice Department says that two Ukranian oligarchs, Igor Veleryevich Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Borisovich Bogolyubov, used money laundered from a Ukrainian bank called PrivatBank to purchase commercial real estate in Cleveland, Ohio, with help from the donors, Mordechai Korf and Uriel Tzvi Laber.

Korf and Laber purchased the 55 Public Square property in Cleveland, the recent complaint contends, with money “directly traceable to a loan obtained from PrivatBank” by the oligarchs, that was “the proceeds of embezzlement, misappropriation, and fraud.”

“Korf and Laber established a network of companies, generally under some variation of the name ‘Optima,’ to acquire businesses and real estate in the U.S. using misappropriated money from PrivatBank,” says the complaint.

This complaint is the most recent of three filed in the Southern District of Florida for properties the Justice Department says were bought with funds laundered from PrivatBank by Korf and Laber: the Louisville office tower PNC Plaza and the Dallas office park that served as the former headquarters for CompuCom as well as Cleveland’s 55 Public Square, an office tower. The properties have a combined value of more than $60 million.

The Forward found that Korf and Laber donated about $25 million to Jewish nonprofits between 2006 and 2018. The men owned shares in the Latvian unit of PrivatBank.


Molly Boigon

Molly Boigon

Molly Boigon is an investigative reporter at the Forward. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter @MollyBoigon.

Feds try to seize property bought by Chabad donors

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

DOJ moves to seize property bought by donors to Jewish nonprofits

Thank you!

This article has been sent!