"Amber dealers" rake in profits equal to country's military budget – Prosecutor General
Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko says annual profits from the illegal mining of amber in Ukraine equals the value of the country's military budget.
"According to preliminary estimates, the annual earnings of amber dealers can reach the amount equal to the country's expenses on its military budget needs. Amber deposits can be found almost all over the Ukrainian Polissia [Northern Ukraine]. Therefore, it is a very promising area for the state," Ukrainian news broadcaster TSN quoted Lutsenko as saying.
The prosecutor general added that it is necessary to legalize the mining of amber by the local population, but "profits should not find their way into the pockets of bandits and law enforcement officers who cooperate with them, but into government coffers."
As UNIAN reported earlier, Lutsenko issued an order on July 6, 2016 to dismiss prosecutor of Rivne region Anatoliy Kovalchuk, while carrying out the "amber mafia" neutralization operation. Also, deputy regional prosecutor Andriy Borovyk was detained, and is suspected of organizing a criminal group that is engaged in illegal extraction of amber.