70 Brooklyn yeshivas supported by laundered money - report

Since the early 2000s, two Miami businessmen have run a "commercial empire," as Radio Free Europe report puts it, answering to the Ukranian-Israeli billionaire oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyy.

Ihor Kolomoyskyy speaks during an interview in Dnipropetrovsk May 24, 2014.  (photo credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO)
Ihor Kolomoyskyy speaks during an interview in Dnipropetrovsk May 24, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO)
According to federal tax filings, about $11 million has been funneled by two Jewish businessmen from the Ukraine to some 70 yeshivas in Brooklyn, the New York Post reported on Saturday.
The businessmen are Miami-based Mordechai Korf, 48, and Uri Laber, 49.
The two have been the heads of a "commercial empire," as Radio Free Europe report puts it, since the early 2000s, answering to the Ukrainian-Israeli billionaire oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyy.
On Friday, Kolomoyskyy was designated by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as a result of his "involvement in significant corruption." His wife, Iryna Kolomoyska, his daughter, Angelika Kolomoyska, and his son, Israel Zvi Kolomoyskyy, were included in the designation, which makes them ineligible for entry into the United States.
Blinken accuses him of being involved in "corrupt acts... using his political influence and official power for his personal benefit," during his 2014-2015 run as governor of Dnipropetrovsk, one of the most important industrial regions of the country.
Also known as Dnipro, it is the hometown of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who expanded the movement to what it is today — a worldwide Jewish outreach movement touting over 16,000 members running more than 3,500 institutions.  
Blinken said he also wanted to "express concern about Kolomoyskyy’s current and ongoing efforts to undermine Ukraine’s democratic processes and institutions, which pose a serious threat to its future."
What's his story?
In the early 1990s, Kolomoyskyy co-founded PrivatBank, one of the Ukraine's biggest banks, and today has a net worth of $1.2 billion, making him one of the richest men in the Ukraine.
The scandal and criticism started in 2016 when he and his partner Gennadiy Voholiubov allegedly took billions of dollars out of PrivatBank — with the help and mastery of Korf and Laber's network.
What is their connection?
The two businessmen started out their story in the Ukraine as humanitarian volunteers when the country emerged from the disintegration of the Soviet Union in August 1991, the year Korf came over.
Laber joined him a few years later. Both came from religious backgrounds — Korf was "still a teenager just out of rabbinical institute" in 1991, RadioFreeEurope noted. They met at a religious school in Detroit.
Ukraine was struggling under its new economic reality after emerging independent from Soviet integration, attempting to shift to a capitalist system.
Korf and Laber joined the privatization movement in Ukraine, buying up shares of natural gas and oil companies. As Dnipro held the status of one of the most important industrial centers in the country, this was a significant power move.
They also set up a Florida-registered company called Optima International of Miami. The US Justice Department has said that the two had sold a stake in Optima to Kolomoyskyy and Voholiubov, but details on the time and size of the sale remain murky.
All have been supporters and strong philanthropists of Jewish causes, both in the Ukraine and in the US.  
The New York Post noted that the two have given over $1.4 million to Brooklyn's Jewish Education Media, a nonprofit which works to spread Schneerson's mission and works. Additionally, they have given close to $1 million to the Federation of Jewish communities of the Commonwealth of Independent States, a European organization comprised of nine members representing regional areas in eastern Europe following the disintegration of the Soviet Union. 
In 2010, Kolomyskyy was crowned president of the European Council of Jewish Communities, an organization dedicated to promoting Jewish life across Europe.

Tobias Siegal contributed to this report.