Ukraine is investigating a corruption scheme involving military officials who paid nearly $40 million for weapons which were never delivered, officials say. Five suspects are being investigated.
The SBU security service said high-ranking officials in the Ministry of Defense and managers at arms supplier Lviv Arsenal were accused of stealing nearly 1.5 billion hryvnias ($39.6 million) in state funds.
According to investigators, officials entered into a contract with Lviv Arsenal in August 2022 for the purchase of 100,000 mortar rounds. The government then paid the entire amount in advance, after which the company transferred a portion of the money to a foreign company which was supposed to deliver the ammunition.
“However, [the foreign company] did not send a single artillery shell to our country and took the funds into the shadows, transferring them to the accounts of another affiliated structure in the Balkans,” the SBU said in a statement.
The SBU said five people are being investigated in the case, including former and current officials at the Ministry of Defense and Lviv Arsenal executives. One person was taken into custody when he tried to leave Ukraine.
If convicted, those involved face up to 12 years in prison.