Russian billionaire Konstantin Malofeev / Photo from bbc.com

Bosnian journalists suggest that Russian billionaire Konstantin Malofeev might be involved in the illegal relocation of an ancient Ukrainian icon from Russia-occupied Donbas to Sarajevo, which was later handed over to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as a gift.

This was reported by BBC News Ukrainian referring to a corresponding report by investigative journalists.

Read alsoRussia to "return" to Bosnia icon gifted to Lavrov over "Ukrainian heritage" row

Konstantin Malofeev is a fan of religious works of art. He also owns the Tsargrad website, which spreads Kremlin propaganda. He was also suspected of involvement in sponsoring Russia-controlled illegal formations in Donbas.

Journalists investigated activities of his so-called the Saint Basil the Great Charitable Foundation. Over the years, the Russian billionaire was generous and reportedly gave away icons to his closest allies. He also met with the Serb member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik, several times.

The publication recalls that in 2014, fighters from Bosnia and Herzegovina flew to Donbas to fight on the side of Russian mercenaries.

Preceding events

  • The Serb member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik, presented a Ukrainian icon to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. After that, the Ukrainian Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina demanded an explanation from that country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs as for how the icon had got into the country.
  • Subsequently, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that they would return the icon to the side that had presented it so that its history could be traced through Interpol.
  • According to local media reports, the icon is almost 300 years old and was stored in the Ukrainian city of Luhansk, which is now occupied by Russia.
  • The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and Information Policy intends to appeal to law enforcement agencies with a request to establish a chain of the icon's movement from Ukraine to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • The prosecutor's office of Bosnia and Herzegovina has opened a respective criminal case.