On Monday a Ukrainian business man secured the release of 20 crewmen held on their ship by Somali pirates for five months, according to reports from his office, Reuters reported.

The office of Viktor Pinchuk, who runs a variety of businesses from industrial pipes to media and engages in a wide range of philanthropic activities, did not disclose how much was paid in exchange for the release this month of the crew of the Faina.

The office also gave no details of conditions attached to the deal to get the vessel and its cargo freed.

The vessel and its cargo of 33 Soviet-era T-72 tanks as well as other weapons was freed after long negotiations off Africa's east coast.

Viktor Pinchuk did, in fact, provide the sum required to secure the release of the sailors being held hostage aboard the Faina, his press office said in a statement according to Reuters reports.

The newspaper quoted Pinchuk as saying: No one in Ukraine was indifferent to the fate of our sailors. The hijacking of the Faina was a challenge to the whole country.

The pirates released the ship after receiving a ransom initially estimated at $3.2 million from the ship's owners.

According to reports form Ukrainian media, the sum is approximately $4 million.

Pinchuk, the son-in-law of former President Leonid Kuchma, owns Interpipe, Ukraine's largest producer of pipes, as well as television channels and other businesses.

He engages in high-profile charitable works, running a modern art gallery in Kiev and bringing to Ukraine well-known artists to perform at free open-air concerts.

Earlier on Monday, President Viktor Yushchenko's chief of staff said Pinchuk had provided the lion's share of the money paid to secure the ship's release.

According to writing on the president's website, Viktor Baloga said authorities had sought the help of businessmen as there was no section of the state budget allocated to liberating hostages.