The SBU Security Service of Ukraine / Photo from UNIAN

The SBU Security Service of Ukraine is investigating a criminal case opened against Ukrainian film distribution companies suspected of transferring funds to Russian special services and sabotaging Ukrainian cinematography.

The case is being heard by Kyiv's Shevchenkivsky district court whose materials were posted in the Unified Register of Judicial Decisions on July 22, the Ukrayinska Pravda online newspaper said.

According to the materials of the case, the criminal proceedings were initiated by a lawmaker whose name is not disclosed.

"A lawmaker's inquiry says that the [Ukrainian] film distribution market is split among B&H Film Distribution Company, Ukrainian Film Distribution, Kinomania, Volga Ukraine, Multi Media Distribution whose annual box-office receipts in Ukraine are about US$100 million," the documents say.

It is indicated that those companies were registered on the Ukrainian market as subsidiaries of companies of the Russian Federation, have profitable financial and economic relations with Russian companies, their ultimate owners are citizens of the Russian Federation.

It is noted that the companies are "hiding their super profits by conducting financial and economic operations with business entities that have signs of fake companies, and also transfer funds to Russian companies for distribution rights."

In 2014-2016, the special services of the Russian Federation "in fact forced the owners of companies operating in the film distribution market of Ukraine to channel part of their incomes into sponsoring mass riots in Ukraine, violating its territorial integrity, destabilizing the political and economic situation."

The film distributors are also accused of being used by the special services of the Russian Federation as agents of influence in Ukraine, they dictate conditions in the film industry and sabotage the promotion and screening of Ukrainian-made films.

According to the court, the SBU in July asked the court to provide access to the bank accounts of the film distributors, and the court gave SBU investigators' access to documents containing bank secrets.