NABU, SAPO expose criminal organization at Chernivtsi Customs Office

Due to the cooperation with the competent authorities of Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia NABU and SAPO exposed a criminal organization at Chernivtsi Customs Office. Among its members were well-known businessmen from Chernivtsi and officials of the Chernivtsi Customs Office , including its ex-head and a former deputy of the Chernivtsi Regional Council. Their actions aimed at minimizing customs payments through the scheme of so-called 'gray' imports caused almost UAH 290 million in losses to the state.

As established, the participants organized the illegal importation of high-value goods (clothing, footwear, accessories) from Turkey through the Vadul-Siret customs post, disguising the transportation of these goods as empty or masking them with cover goods (fabric, chipboard, bricks) with significantly lower customs value.

Under the scheme, customs officials used forged documents to ensure that trucks were allowed to extraordinarily pass through the customs post without customs inspection. Later, the transport proceeded to the entrepreneurs' warehouses, where high-value goods were unloaded and sold, while the cover goods loaded instead were delivered to the Chernivtsi Customs Office post to complete the clearance and pay the reduced fees. 

11 persons have been notified of suspicion so far. Their actions fall under Part 1 Art. 255, Part 2, 3 Art. 364, Part 3 Art. 212, Part 4 Art. 345-1, Part 3 Art. 368, Part 4 Art. 369 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

Among the suspects there are:

  • three Chernivtsi Customs officials;
  • eight other persons.

The co-organizer of the criminal organization and four participants have been detained.

Cooperation with the competent authorities of Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia made it possible to obtain a wealth of evidence and determine the extent of losses in the case.

The investigation is ongoing. NABU and SAPO are identifying other possible members of the criminal organization.

According to Article 62 of the Constitution of Ukraine, a person is considered not-guilty in the commission of a crime and cannot be subject to criminal punishment until he or she is found guilty by court.