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SBU: Firtash, top associates accused of embezzling millions of hryvnias worth of state gas

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 15, 2023 3:34 PM 1 min read
Dmytro Firtash poses for a photograph inside the Group DF offices following a Bloomberg Television interview in Vienna, Austria, on Monday, March 14, 2016. (Photo: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash and some of his top business associates have been informed that they are suspected of embezzling millions worth of state gas, Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) reported on May 15.

According to the SBU, among those implicated are the management of the Regional Gas Company, which oversees 20 city and regional gas companies that comprise 70% of gas distribution networks in Ukraine.

In 2021, the alleged illegal activities of Firtash and his associates caused over Hr 4.2 billion ($113 million) in losses for Ukraine, the SBU wrote. The total damages between 2016 and 2022 may amount to over Hr 18 billion ($487 million).

On March 17, the SBU and the Financial Investigation Service searched 16 offices of the Regional Gas Company, which is reportedly controlled by tycoon Dmytro Firtash.

According to both agencies, the searches were related to a criminal scheme regarding the manipulation of gas distribution prices that caused Hr 3.5 billion ($94 million) in losses to the state.

Firtash has lived in Austria since 2014, and has been fighting extradition attempts from the U.S. since 2014, where he is charged with corruption. He lost his most recent appeal in March 2022 and his lawyers continue to attempt to delay the process.

Allan Pagh Kristensen: Fight against corruption requires more than anti-corruption institutions
‘One expert described anti-corruption institutions in Ukraine as an isolated island in a hostile sea. I believe this is an appropriate illustration.’

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