Ukraine has arrested more than 160,000 tons of iron ore which was stored in underground warehouses at several of Ukraine’s seaports, the country’s Security Service (SBU) reported. The seized assets, worth about $54 million (almost Hr 2 billion), belonged to a company owned by Alisher Usmanov, a Russian oligarch from Kremlin’s inner circle, according to law enforcement.
SBU wrote that Usmanov’s company had tried to illegally transport hidden iron ore to Russia for the needs of its metallurgical industry and the military-industrial complex.
However, the Prosecutor General’s Office, under the procedural guidance of which the investigation is carried out, contradicted the SBU's statement, saying that the materials were not supposed to be transferred abroad.
Instead, “a legal entity registered in an EU country, together with Russian companies affiliated with” Usmanov shipped the goods to Ukrainian businesses without paying customs payments and taxes. They used the mechanism of the so-called “interrupted transit,” according to the prosecutors.
In this way, Usmanov’s company caused more than $3.2 million (Hr 118 million) in losses to the Ukrainian state, Prosecutor General's Office added.
When asked by the Kyiv Independent about the contradiction in two reports, the Prosecutor General's Office press service couldn't explain it. The SBU press service couldn't be reached immediately.
After the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine started on Feb. 24, Alisher Usmanov was sanctioned by Ukraine, the U.S., and the EU.