SBU continues system-wide response to curbing smuggling in Ukraine – SBU chief
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) continues system-wide response to curbing smuggling in Ukraine, in particular, it is using the materials of the SBU that a number of measures will be taken to suppress the activities of smuggling groups, which include both legal entities and individuals who fell under the sanctions of the Council on April 2 national security and defense, SBU Chief Ivan Bakanov has said.
"The Security Service understands very well how important the fight against smuggling is for the state. That is why we pay special attention to it. And the results of the work confirm this. So, during 2020 and two months of 2021, according to the materials of the SBU, items of smuggling and violations of customs regulations worth UAH 534 million were seized," the SBU press service said in Telegram, quoting Bakanov.
He said that more than 138 million fines were also imposed based on the materials of the SBU, and more than UAH 2.7 billion of customs payments were charged to violators.
"We are seeing a tangible economic effect from the activities of the SBU in this area," the head of the intelligence service said.
In total three organized criminal groups, which were engaged in smuggling activities, were destroyed, 87 criminal proceedings were started, and 52 people were convicted.
"Among the headline-making examples: the activity of a criminal group in Kharkiv region, which organized a large-scale supply of military products of domestic defense enterprises for aircraft equipment to the Russian Federation, was prevented; together with Eurojust [the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation], Europol [EU law enforcement agency] and law enforcement officers from France, Poland and Slovakia, the activities of an international group that specialized in the manufacture and the smuggling of steroids, seven large consignments of cocaine were found in the port of Pivdenny and others," the security service said.
A separate direction of the SBU's work is combating corruption precisely at the customs border, since "it was here that during 2020-2021 the SBU opened 82 pretrial investigations. Some 109 officials were informed that they will be prosecuted, and 20 have already been convicted."
"System-wide work is underway. After all, threats to national security associated with smuggling hit not only the state budget receipts. In the case of drugs and weapons, this is primarily the safety of citizens," Bakanov said.
According to the Dzerkalo Tyzhnia newspaper, the NSDC sanctions affected 68 companies associated with Vadym Alperin, Oleksandr Chudakov, Viktor Sherman, Oleksandr Kravchenko, Volodymyr Didukh, Ivan Bokalo, Valeriy Peresoliak, Yuriy Kushnir, Orest Firmaniuk and Oleksandr Yeriminchuk. The listed citizens were also subject to personal sanctions "for smuggling."
As reported, the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) for the first time in the history of Ukraine has imposed personal sanctions against ten smugglers, who, according to intelligence agencies, are "leaders" in this industry.