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Defence concern corruption: NABU under fire

Almost all law-enforcement agencies allegedly knew about the scheme.

The National Antiсorruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Prosecutor-General's Office (PGO) were involved in corruption schemes in the state-run defence concern Ukroboronprom, according to the fourth part of a large-scale journalistic probe by Bihus.info.

According to the journalists, almost all law-enforcement agencies had launched investigations into the companies owned by what journalists branded as “golden boys”, Novoye Vremya weekly reports.

Bihus.info alleged that the Fiscal Service, National Police, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the prosecutor’s office and the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine “started, but either hid in the drawer or watered down investigations”, while doing this for a certain monetary reward.

In addition, the leaked correspondence between two investigation targets – Andriy Rohoza and Vitaliy Zhukov – was published, where the two allegedly discussed the size of bribes to give to various officials.

Rohoza would allegedly complain to his friend from the Security Service of Ukraine that, while it was easy to close down cases in the Fiscal Service, it was difficult and expensive to do so with the PGO. Bribes amounted to thousands of dollars. Also, the investigation suggests that military prosecutors watered down the probe into suspected embezzlement.

The investigation says that the Fiscal Service once exposed illegal cashing firms through which money from defence factories were cashed. Then the OptimumSpetsdetal company fell under suspicion.

The National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine also got into a spotlight of the journalistic probe. The Bureau first wrote a letter to Ukroboronprom where a list of "high-risk" companies was attached, among which there was Optimumspetsdetal.

The "golden boys" in their correspondence allegedly discuss that NABU first deputy head Gizo Uglava should resolve the issue. The Bureau later excluded the said company from the list of "high-risk" companies.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukrainian investigative journalists on February 25 released a report alleging that Ihor Hladkovskyy, the son of First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine Oleh Hladkovsky, is involved in a large-scale embezzlement scheme in the defense sector.

It is alleged that Hladkovsky Jr. and his partners conspired with defence officials to procure military spare parts from Russian smugglers, as well as from Ukrainian army warehouses. Prices of spare parts, which journalists say often failed to meet quality standards, were inflated significantly.

Then, the journalists reported, the perpetrators would sell these goods to defence plants in conspiracy with top managers of Ukroboronprom. The group allegedly made at least 250m hryvnyas in kickbacks from Ukroboronprom.

On 26 February, Poroshenko suspended Oleh Hladkovskyy from office pending a criminal investigation. On 4 March, the president signed a decree to dismiss Hladkovskyy from the post of first deputy secretary of the National Security and Defence Council.

Hladkovskyy denied the allegations and said his son had become a hostage of “dirty affairs” and is filing a lawsuit against investigative journalists.

The Special Anticorruption Prosecutor's Office opened criminal proceedings to check the allegations made public by the journalists.

Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko said that the PGO had been investigating the allegations concerning defence transactions made by the media since 2017 and the NABU since 2016. According to him, the established amount of losses inflicted on the state budget, which is referred to in the journalistic investigation, is 22m hryvnyas.

Lutsenko also confirmed that defence companies received parts for the repair of military equipment which have been smuggled in from Russia.

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