The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), jointly with the Bureau of Economic Security (ESBU), exposed an embezzlement scheme for the export of Ukrainian grain involving more than 10 high-ranking customs officials.
According to the SBU website, the deputy head of one of the departments of the State Customs Service and the management of Odesa Customs were involved in the corruption scheme.
"They have established a large-scale mechanism of tax evasion for the export of Ukrainian grain. Because of this, the state lost hundreds of millions of hryvnyas. To implement the scheme, its participants involved more than 370 commercial structures with signs of fictitiousness," the special service noted.
First, the Bureau of Economic Security employees discovered the facts of using risky enterprises in export procedures and warned the State Customs Service in writing. But the State Customs Service did not take into account the Bureau's remarks and allowed to sell more than a million tons of grain abroad.
The SBU noted that wheat was exported through the capacities of grain terminals in Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyy ports.
According to the Bureau, the total estimated losses for 2022 (in case of non-declaration of income from the above-mentioned export operations in the form of tax evasion) are estimated by the Bureau's analysts at UAH 5.2 billion.
The ESBU and SBU officers conducted 30 searches in the administrative premises of the State Customs Service of Ukraine, Odesa Customs and Chornomorsk-port, Pivdennyy port, Odesa-port customs posts, and at the place of residence of the State Customs Service officials. They found draft records, documents in electronic form, as well as mobile phones with evidence of the fraud.
The criminal proceeding was initiated under Part 2 Art. 364 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The issue of serving a notice of suspicion and choosing a measure of restraint to the persons involved in the corruption scheme is now being settled.