Ukraine's State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) revealed a criminal scheme in which conspirators allegedly seized land surrounding the Kyiv Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) through unlawful means, the SBI announced on Nov. 29.
According to the SBI, the conspirators numbered almost 25 people in total and included a wide variety of professionals involved in the construction, sale, and legal aspects of the real estate industry
They reportedly worked with government officials to fraudulently register the land plots as agricultural, thus making them able to be purchased by private citizens, the SBI said.
Through the scheme, the conspirators acquired a total of 5 hectares of land, worth an estimated total of more than Hr 15 million ($415,000).
Beyond their monetary value, the lands are classified as being part of the Kyiv water fund and are part of the territory of the Kyiv HPP, which is a critical piece of energy infrastructure in Kyiv Oblast. As such, the area is protected and of high importance to the government, especially during the full-scale invasion and in light of Russian attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure.
The SBI said that the investigation is ongoing, and five people have been detained so far.
If convicted, conspirators of the scheme could face up to 12 years in prison, as well as the confiscation of property.