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Former lawmaker Pashynskyi charged with illegally appropriating state-owned oil

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 12, 2024 5:00 PM 2 min read
Former lawmaker Serhii Pashynskyi in a photo posted on Jan. 1, 2016. (Serhii Pashynskyi/Facebook)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Former lawmaker Serhii Pashynskyi and five other individuals were charged for allegedly illegally appropriating almost 100,000 tons of state-owned oil in 2014, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) announced on Feb. 12.

Pashynskyi said earlier on Feb. 12 that the members of the SBU and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) had searched his home reportedly in connection with an almost 10-year-old investigation into controversial Ukrainian businessman Serhii Kurchenko.

Kurchenko, who fled Ukraine in 2014 and is accused of funneling hundreds of millions of dollars into his own pockets from selling state-owned natural resources, has lived in Russia since he departed from Ukraine.

According to the SBU, Pashynskyi and his accomplices conspired to appropriate the oil confiscated from Kurchenko via a specially created state company. The conspirators then allegedly sold the oil to companies owned by their associates.

The SBU said that the company received payments in full from the Defense Ministry for the oil but only delivered less than 2% of the promised total. The remaining oil was allegedly sold to customers in Russia and Belarus through a third-party company.

Pashynskyi and the other individuals reportedly involved in the plot pocketed the profits.

The total losses to the state's budget from the scheme reached almost Hr 1 billion ($26.3 million), the SBU said.

Pashynskyi, whom President Volodymyr Zelensky publicly referred to as a "criminal" in 2019, has been heavily involved in procuring weapons for the Ukrainian army since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

An investigation by The New York Times released in August 2023 found that a company associated with Pashynskyi had become the "biggest private arms supplier in Ukraine."

Pashynskyi was previously accused of laundering funds associated with Kurchenko's oil as far back as 2015.

The SBU said the investigation is ongoing and that Pashynskyi and his accomplices may face up to 12 years in prison if convicted.

Defense Ministry official suspended in alleged connection to weapons procurement fraud case
The suspension was allegedly related to a corruption scheme revealed by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on Jan. 27 that involved the procurement of almost 100,000 mortar shells, amounting to Hr 1.5 billion ($40 million).
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