(Bloomberg) -- Ukrainian authorities carried out raids across the country as part of a broadening crackdown on corruption, including searches of a tycoon once close to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a top tax official and a former head of military procurement. 

The country’s SBU security service, assisted by law-enforcement agencies, said “dozens” of actions took place on Wednesday, targeting what it called corrupt officials, Russian agents and individuals accused of undermining the nation’s security. SBU chief Vasyl Maliuk said the measures were aimed at “the internal enemy.” 

“We don’t plan to stop,” Maliuk said in a statement on Telegram. “Every criminal who has the audacity to harm Ukraine, especially under war conditions, must understand clearly that we will put him in handcuffs.” 

Zelenskiy, who was elected president in 2019 on a campaign to tackle endemic corruption that has long plagued Ukraine, has intensified a wartime effort to squelch the problem. Last week he fired at least 10 officials in a government shakeup following an outcry over perceived excesses by civil servants. 

Pressure to staunch corruption is mounting, among foreign donors sending billions to support Ukraine’s war effort — and from a public demanding fairness from top officials as they send citizens to the front to fend off the Russian invasion. 

The effort is also central to Ukraine’s ambitions to join the European Union. Zelenskiy will host European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel this week in Kyiv for a summit meeting. 

Law-enforcement agents early Wednesday raided the home of wealthy businessman Igor Kolomoisky, according to an official familiar with the probe who declined to be identified. The SBU said it was looking into “massive” tax evasion and money laundering schemes by former managers at Ukrainian oil producer Ukrnafta and refiner Ukrtatnafta, both of which were once backed by Kolomoisky. 

Kolomoisky, who has denied any wrongdoing, didn’t immediately reply to a request seeking comment. Zelenskiy’s government last November seized stakes in the companies using special wartime powers, saying it aimed to bolster Ukraine’s defenses. 

Before Russia’s invasion, Kolomoisky was a billionaire and one of Ukraine’s richest people with holdings in energy companies, media and other businesses. His broadcaster was instrumental in bringing Zelenskiy to fame as an entertainer before he entered politics — and the tycoon played a key role in his ascent to the presidency. But Zelenskiy later broke ties with him.  

The search was first reported by Ukrainska Pravda, which said it involved Kolomoisky’s home in the central city of Dnipro — and showed photos of the businessman wearing a tracksuit in a wood-paneled residence. 

Additional raids included one targeting a top tax official for the capital Kyiv linked to $1.4 million worth of assets being probed, the SBU said. Another involved an investigation into a former procurement manager in the Defense Ministry suspected of spending the equivalent of $2.7 million to buy 3,000 poor-quality vests for soldiers. 

The dragnet effectively sends a political signal to those who wielded outsize influence in pre-war Ukraine and have lost their grip on power as the nation plunged into war, Volodymyr Fesenko, head of the Penta research institute in Kyiv, said on Facebook.

“This is a public warning to the participants themselves and their entourage,” Fesenko said. 

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.