Corruption in Ukroboronprom: Journalists claim anti-corruption watchdog, prosecutors involved
The National Anti-сorruption Bureau and the Prosecutor General's Office are involved in the Corruption schemes in Ukroboronprom, Ukraine's defense giant, that's according to the fourth part of a large-scale journalistic probe by Bihus.info.
According to journalists, almost all law enforcement agencies had launched investigations against the companies owned by what journalists branded as “golden boys”, Novoye Vremya weekly reports.
Bihus.info claims the Fiscal Service, National Police, SBU, prosecutor’s office, and NABU “started, but either hid in the drawer or watered down investigations,” while doing this for a certain monetary reward. In addition, the leaked correspondence between two investigation targets – Andriy Rogoza and Vitaly Zhukov – was published, where the two allegedly discussed the size of bribes to give to various officials.
Rogoza would allegedly complain to his friend from the Security Service of Ukraine that, while it was easy to close down cases in the Fiscal Service, it was difficult and expensive in the PGO. The size of bribes amounted to thousands of dollars.
Also, the investigation suggests that military prosecutors watered down the probe into suspected embezzlement.
The investigation says that the SFS once revealed illegal cashing firms through which money from defense factories were cashed. Then the OptimumSpetsdetal company fell under suspicion.
The National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine also got into a spotlight of the journalistic probe. The Bureau first wrote a letter to Ukroboronprom where a list of "high-risk" companies was attached, among which there was Optimumspetsdetal.
"Golden boys" in their correspondence allegedly discuss that NABU first deputy head, Gizo Uglava, should resolve the issue. The Bureau later excluded the said company from the list of "high-risk" companies.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukrainian investigative journalists on February 25 released a report claiming that Ihor Hladkovsky, the son of First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleh Hladkovsky, is involved in large-scale embezzlement scheme in the defense sector.
It is alleged that Hladkovsky Jr. and his partners conspired with defense officials to procure military spare parts from Russian smugglers, as well as from Ukrainian Army warehouses. Prices for spare parts, which journalists say often failed to meet quality standards, were hiked significantly. Then, the journalists reported, the perpetrators would sell these goods to defense plants in conspiracy with top managers of Ukroboronprom, Ukraine's state-owned Defense Concern.
The group allegedly earned from Ukroboronprom at least UAH 250 million in kickbacks. Journalists claim Oleh Hladkovsky is Petro Poroshenko's ally set to informally "supervise" the country's defense industry.
On February 26, Poroshenko suspended Oleh Hladkovsky from office pending a criminal investigation. On March 4, the president signed a decree to dismiss Hladkovsky from the post of First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council.
Hladkovsky said his son had become a hostage of “dirty affairs” and is filing a lawsuit against investigative journalists. The special Anti-corruption Prosecutor's Office has opened criminal proceedings to verify allegations made public by journalists.
Lutsenko said that the PGO had been investigating defense transactions announced in the media since 2017, and NABU – since 2016. According to him, the established amount of damage caused to the state budget, which is referred to in the journalistic investigation, is UAH 22 million. Lutsenko also confirmed that defense companies, including Kuznia na Rybalskom, received parts for the repair of military equipment that have been smuggled in from Russia.