The SBU announced suspicions to officials of the Ministry of Defense. They are accused of embezzling 1.5 billion hryvnias for the purchase of shells

Oleksandra Opanasenko

The Security Service of Ukraine reported the suspected embezzlement of 1.5 billion hryvnias for the purchase of shells for the Armed Forces to the former and current heads of the Department of Military and Technical Policy of the Ministry of Defense, the director of Lviv Arsenal and a representative of a foreign intermediary company.

According to the investigation, in August 2022, officials concluded a contract for the purchase of a wholesale batch of artillery shells with the arms supplier Lviv Arsenal. Then the Ministry of Defense transferred the entire amount to the companyʼs accounts, and the companyʼs management transferred part of the money to the balance sheet of a foreign company that was supposed to supply ammunition to Ukraine.

However, according to the SBU, the company did not send a single projectile, and transferred the received money to the accounts of another affiliated company in the Balkans. The rest of the amount from the Ministry of Defense remained in the accounts of the Ukrainian company in one of the capitalʼs banks.

According to the materials of the Security Service, five people were suspected of misappropriation, embezzlement of property or possession of it by abuse of official position, committed by an organized group.

In particular, the following were suspected:

  • former and current heads of the Department of Military-Technical Policy, Development of Weapons and Military Equipment of the Ministry of Defense;
  • head and commercial director of the Lviv Arsenal company;
  • representative of a foreign company.

The SBU detained one of the suspects trying to leave Ukraine, so he is currently in custody. Although the SBU does not name him, "Hromadske" and "RBK-Ukraine" write that they are talking about Oleksandr Liev, the former acting head of the Department of Military and Technical Policy of the Ministry of Defense.

The issue of precautionary measures for the other defendants is currently being resolved — the suspects face up to 12 years in prison with confiscation of property.

Later, Liev himself confirmed that he was served with suspicion. He rejects the accusations and considers the suspicion to be absurd. Liev wrote on Facebook that he was supposed to go on a business trip to Slovakia to inspect demining machines to be delivered to Ukraine, and planned to return on February 5 for a meeting planned by the Ministry of Economy with humanitarian demining operators.

"Therefore, there is no question of escaping from my country, especially since I have traveled abroad several times in the last year and always returned. I properly attended all the interrogations of me as a witness. My family survived seven searches of my home without any complaints. I consider this detention to be an unfortunate misunderstanding. I feel confident in my legal actions. Ukraine is a legal country, I will prove my rightness in court," the message reads.

  • Previously , the Ministry of Defense won the case of Lviv Arsenal, which was supposed to supply 100,000 mortar mines. Now LLC "Lviv Arsenal" has to pay the MOU 1,340,465,698 hryvnias of advance payment, 90,683,623.06 hryvnias of penalties and 96,734,638 hryvnias of fines for non-delivery of paid mines. As part of this case, the accounts and other movable and immovable property of the LLC were seized.