KYIV, April 23 (Reuters) - Ukrainian power firm Centrenergo is being investigated by state security service SBU over the suspected sale of electricity at prices below production cost, Interfax Ukraine news agency reported on Friday.
The country's second largest thermal energy generating company, it supplies power to the Kyiv region and parts of eastern Ukraine and is due to be privatised in the second quarter of 2021.
"SBU is conducting a pre-trial investigation in a criminal proceeding on the sale by Centerenergo... of (electricity) at prices 20%-30% lower than the cost of its production," Interfax quoted the SBU as saying.
It said such deals could led to damage and embezzlement of company property worth almost 225 million hryvnias ($8 million).
Centrenergo and the SBU did not respond to requests for comment.
Ukrainian investigative journalists in 2020 reported that Centrenergo bought coal from structures associated with the oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, whose office, according to media reports, is located in the building where searches were carried out.
Kolomoisky told reporters that he did not know about the situation around the searches.
Kolomoisky was once regarded as one of the strongest business backers of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a former comedian actor who once had a show on a television channel controlled by the oligarch.
Last month the U.S. State Department said it had designated Kolomoisky, a former Ukrainian public official, as ineligible to enter the United States, accusing him of involvement in significant corruption during his time in office.
Kolomoisky has also fought a protracted legal battle over control of PrivatBank, Ukraine's largest lender, which was nationalized in 2016 against his wishes.
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets, writing by Pavel Polityuk)
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