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SBU uncovers largest operation selling fraudulent Covid-19 certification

December 14, 2021 7:35 pmby Sergiy Slipchenko
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The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has unveiled a large operation of counterfeit Covid-19 documentation on Dec. 14, 2021. (Kyiv Police)

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has uncovered the largest operation producing fake Covid-19 documentation and distributing it throughout the whole country, according to a Dec. 14 announcement.

The operation generated around $185,000 a month, based on preliminary estimates.

According to documents obtained by the SBU from the alleged perpetrators' residence, as many as 2,000 fake entries were put into government databases per month. The operation involved several heads of medical institutions and six family doctors in various regions throughout Ukraine.

The schemers would falsify vaccination documentation and enter data into the Diia government app that tracks Covid-19 vaccination certificates. The average cost for such services was $110-150 per individual.

During the searches, law enforcement confiscated evidence which included international vaccination certificates, computer equipment, mobile phones and bank cards.

The SBU has arrested two Kyiv residents in charge of the operation. The agency said it would continue its investigation and bring everyone involved to justice.

Ukraine has had numerous similar operations shut down since the beginning of the pandemic. Their services are popular due to the high levels of vaccine skepticism bolstered by misinformation. According to a UNICEF study published on Nov. 5, around 54.6% of unvaccinated Ukrainians said they would refuse the jab.

According to the health ministry, a total of 32.6% of Ukrainians have received both doses required for immunization as of Dec. 13.

Sergiy Slipchenko
Author: Sergiy Slipchenko

Sergiy Slipchenko is a staff writer at the Kyiv Independent. He studied at York University in Toronto, Canada and worked as a reporter at the Kyiv Post.