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NABU uncovers $1.6 million embezzlement scheme involving top officials

by Dinara Khalilova August 24, 2023 11:20 PM 1 min read
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The first deputy minister of agrarian policy and food and a former deputy economy minister were charged with power abuse in the case of embezzling Hr 62.5 million (around $1.6 million) of state funds, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) reported on Aug. 24.

According to the NABU, the officials carried out a scheme involving the purchase of food products at inflated prices by the state railway operator Ukrzaliznytsia.

One scheme episode occurred in March 2022, shortly after Russia’s full-scale invasion started.

Ukrzaliznytsia reportedly bought products at “significantly inflated prices” from a selected company, which had previously purchased the goods at market prices from a Polish manufacturer through a controlled intermediary firm linked by family ties to the head of the first company.

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The product’s cost per kilogram was artificially increased by around 150% (from Hr 30 to Hr 75), as revealed by the investigation.

The first deputy minister of agrarian policy and food “ensured the approval of relevant invoices for payment and acts of completed works, as well as the transfer of funds to the account of the first company,” the NABU wrote.

The former deputy economy minister allegedly participated in another episode, hiding data about the availability of more favorable offers from other market participants, including Ukrainian manufacturers.

“After receiving the payments, the money was transferred to a foreign company with signs of fictitiousness for further legalization,” the law enforcement agency added.

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