Ukrainian billionaire and Cyprus passport holder Ihor Kolomoisky was re-arrested on Wednesday in Ukraine in connection with an attempted murder in 2003.

According to the Ukrainian police, Kolomoisky had threatened and failed to win over a lawyer who refused to help him overturn an unfavourable shareholders’ decision at a metallurgical plant at the time.

He had then through his bodyguard, allegedly, ordered four members of a criminal group to attack the lawyer in the Crimean coastal town of Feodosia.

The gang members attacked the lawyer with a metal rod and stabbed him in the chest, stomach, and back. Police said his wife prevented the attackers from killing him and doctors managed to save his life. The four assailants were caught and jailed at the time.

Kolomoisky had been initially arrested in September, accused of fraud and money laundering related to his oil and gas holdings. He had been held in custody since then, with his most recent hearing having taken place on February 28.

If found guilty of attempted murder, he could be jailed for the rest of his life.

The Ukrainian police said a total of 23 searches are ongoing in four different regions of the country for evidence related to the case.

Kolomoisky was born in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, then known as Dnipopetrovsk, in 1961. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, he co-founded the PrivatBank in 1992.

The bank opened its doors in Cyprus in 1999 and operated until 2016 when the Ukrainian government nationalised it amid allegations of large-scale fraud and embezzlement, and its operating licence was revoked by the Central Bank of Cyprus.

The Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) claimed in 2019 that Kolomoisky and his business partner Hennadiy Boholiubov had stolen $5.5 billion (€5.1bn) from the bank – equal to around five per cent of Ukraine’s GDP at the time.

Former Ukrainian central bank chairwoman Valeria Hontareva said, “large-scale coordinated fraudulent actions of the bank shareholders and management caused a loss to the state of at least $5.5bn.”

“This is 33 per cent of the population’s deposits and 40 per cent of our country’s monetary base,” she added.

The OCCRP said the money had been moved through PrivatBank’s subsidiary in Cyprus, and that this arrangement helped to hide the fact that cash was disappearing because Ukraine’s central bank treated PrivatBank’s Cyprus office the same as it would a domestic bank. This meant officials never detected that money transferred to Cyprus was leaving Ukraine.

Cyprus was heavily criticised at the time for its failure to stop suspicious money transfers.

The case reached a district court in the Southern District of Florida in the United States in 2022 as the US government attempted to confiscate the money they believe Kolomoisky and Boholiubov had fraudulently obtained.

At the time, the US justice department said, “the complaints allege that they laundered a portion of the criminal proceeds using an array of shell companies’ bank accounts, primarily at PrivatBank’s Cyprus branch, before they transferred the funds to the United States.”

In addition to his Cypriot passport, Kolomoisky is also an Israeli citizen. As well as his banking activities, he served as governor of the Dnipopetrovsk Oblast between 2014 and 2015, when he was dismissed by then President Petro Poroshenko.

He also owned football club Dnipo Dnipopetrovsk, which qualified for the Europa League final in 2015, being narrowly beaten by Spanish club Sevilla.

Forbes lists his current net worth at around $1bn (€932m).