The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has broken up a criminal financial scheme to launder and convert into cash Russian capital of dubious origin, the SBU press office reports on its website, August 16. It is estimated the multi-location operation has handled the equivalent of UAH 15bn through various illegal financial transactions.
The illegal mechanism was based on conducting large-scale illegal financial transactions of Russian capital on Ukrainian territory.
According to the SBU, non-cash funds from Russia were withdrawn by non-resident accounts of offshore companies and subsequently were sent to Ukraine to be converted into cash through hundreds of specially created bogus companies and dozens of commercial banks. Packets of dollar bills were then taken to Russia, bypassing customs controls.
The SBU investigation has determined that during the period of December 2013 to February 2014 very significant sums of this cash remained in Ukraine for financing illegal activities. Investigators are looking into the possible use of this Russian-sourced cash to finance criminal activity against the activists on Maidan, in particular, to pay for criminal activity of the so-called titushky (hired thugs) and the “anti-maidan” militants.
Upon submission of the SBU evidence and in the context of criminal proceedings under Chapter 2, Article 205 (fictitious business) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, the accounts of the perpetrators have been seized in 30 commercial banks in different regions of Ukraine. Some US $220,000 in cash has been removed.
On August 14, special forces of the Security Service of Ukraine carried out raids in offices, residences, banks and vehicles in Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Kirovohrad.
SBU employees have seized more than 1200 stamps of fictitious companies that served the conversion operation, some 200 units of “bank-client” computer software, flash drives for managing the accounts of foreign (Russian and offshore) companies, more than 2000 data storage devices and also the financial and business records of these entities. Also seized were more than 400 seals and stamps belonging to legal entities registered in the Russian Federation — Moscow, St. Petersburg, Samara and others.
The investigation is ongoing. Searches and investigations are being conducted to establish all the elements of the illegal schemes of the “conversion center” and the persons involved in the criminal activity.[hr]
Translated by Anna Mostovych