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Ukraine security service detains four corrupt customs officials in three regions

Ukraine’s security service says it has detained five high-profile regional officials suspected of corruption. Four of those are regional customs officers, the fifth is a local taxation official.
The money confiscated from a customs official suspected of corruption by the SBU. Photo: SBU
Ukraine security service detains four corrupt customs officials in three regions

On 6 September, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) announced that it exposed corruption schemes in the tax service and three regional customs offices of Ukraine. SBU officers detained four customs officials in Odesa, Lviv, and Zhytomyr oblasts, while an Odesa taxation official has already been served a note of suspicion.

The SBU says that the detained customs officers accepted bribes in order to facilitate the expedited importation of goods for business owners, thereby enabling them to circumvent obligatory import duties.

  • In Odesa, a deputy chief of the local branch of the State Customs Service has been detained for suspected understating the customs value of widely used foreign products for importers; he was processing nearly 100 cargo containers each month, each assessed at a value of $500, as part of the scheme.
  • In Lviv, the chief state inspector of the Krakovets customs station has been apprehended for allegedly demanding money in exchange for not creating bureaucratic obstacles during the customs clearance of international shipments, with the threat of additional inspections and delays in the customs clearance process for those who refused.
  • In Zhytomyr, the head of the local customs office and her subordinate, the chief of the customs value control department, will face court proceedings based on SBU materials, as they reportedly formed their own organized criminal group and regularly accepted bribes from entrepreneurs for the “unhindered” importation of foreign goods into Ukraine.

“Investigations are ongoing to bring all those responsible to justice,” the SBU wrote.

The head of one of the departments in the Southern Division of the State Tax Service demanded a $5,000 bribe from a local entrepreneur, promising in return to restore his business operations, even in the face of potential risks in the financial reporting, and based on SBU materials, she has been informed of suspicion under Article 369-2, Part 2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine for abuse of power.

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