Ukraine says it's seized $280 million of exiled billionaire's assets

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine's domestic security service said on Thursday it had seized assets worth more than more than $280 million belonging to an exiled billionaire it accuses of aiding Russia.

It is the second time this year that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has announced the seizure of property belonging to billionaire Vadym Novynskyi. It said in April that it had seized assets of his worth around $96 million.

Representatives for Novynskyi did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In the previous property seizure last month they said the seized assets no longer belonged to Novynskyi, and described him as a Ukrainian patriot.

His representatives have previously denied the accusation that Novynskyi has aided Russia.

The SBU said in a statement that it had seized assets worth more than 10.5 billion hryvnias ($284.40 million), including the Ochakiv seaport in southern Ukraine.

Kyiv imposed sanctions on Novynskyi in December along with several leaders of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, a minority church accused by Kyiv of retaining deep ties to Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

The billionaire is a prominent supporter of the church, which says it severed all links to Russia last year and that it is the victim of a political witch hunt.

($1 = 36.9200 hryvnias)

(Reporting by Max Hunder, Editing by Tom Balmforth and Timothy Heritage)