KYIV -  The ISTIL Group, the Kyiv-based company that publishes the Kyiv Post, has become the 150th member of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, an organization in Washington, D.C. that lobbies for businesses in Ukraine.

The U.S.-Ukraine Business Council was founded in 1995 and, in the early years, had fewer than 20 members. The current roster of 150 members is an organization record, part of the significant growth that has taken place since 2005.

The organization is the largest non-Ukraine based business trade association and calls itself the “most effective” as well. More information about the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council can be found at

The ISTIL Group is a private equity investment company that actively invests in media and entertainment, real estate, production of television content, production and distribution of films, energy and environment, banking, hotels, consumer goods and other assets. ISTIL’s investment in Ukraine will exceed $150 million by the end of 2010.

In addition to the Kyiv Post, which the ISTIL Group purchased last year, other acquisitions include the Leipzig Hotel building in Kyiv, business centers in Kyiv, Odessa and Donetsk, and the ISTIL Studios production house.

Mohammad Zahoor is the founder and main owner of the ISTIL Group. Born in Pakistan, Zahoor would go on to create one of the most modern and efficient steel plants in the former Soviet Union, which he would sell at the peak of its development in 2008. He first arrived in Ukraine in 1974, eventually to study metallurgy at Donetsk Technical University. He completed his doctorate from Donetsk Technical University in 2007.

The Kyiv Post, Ukraine’s leading English-language newspaper, was founded on Oct. 15, 1995. During its 15-year existence, the newspaper has served as the top source of independent news for the foreign community in Ukraine and those interested in the nation living abroad.

Last summer, a year after the ISTIL Group bought the Kyiv Post, the newspaper launched a Ukrainian and Russian version of its English website at The news site is in addition to the newspaper’s print edition and its English-language website.

“I met recently in Ukraine with Jim Phillipoff, media and telecom director of ISTIL, and Brian Bonner, chief editor for the Kyiv Post. I have been very impressed with what Jim and Brian have accomplished since the ISTIL Group took over the Kyiv Post in late July 2009,” said E. Morgan Williams, the president and chief executive officer of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council. He also serves as the director of government affairs in the Washington office of SigmaBleyzer Private Equity Investment Group.

“We discussed a variety of ways the Kyiv Post and the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council could work together to promote Ukraine as a place to do business with the international business community, to tell the story of business opportunities in Ukraine and to provide information on what needs to be done to improve the business environment,” Williams said. “USUBC is very pleased to have the ISTIL Group/Kyiv Post as the 150th member and look forward to working with them.”

For more information about The ISTIL Group go to The ISTIL Studios site is at