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Food safety officials in Ukraine arrested for multimillion-dollar corruption

Detained Food Safety and Consumer Protection officials
Detained Food Safety and Consumer Protection officials

The State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) has apprehended several Food Safety Officials' in Odesa and Zaporizhzhya oblasts, involved in a corruption scheme that netted millions from agricultural exporters, SBI reported on April 2.

The crackdown targeted officials exploiting their positions to extort money in exchange for essential phytosanitary certificates and export documents for barley and corn.

<span class="copyright">SBI</span>
SBI
<span class="copyright">SBI</span>
SBI
<span class="copyright">SBI</span>
SBI
<span class="copyright">SBI</span>
SBI

An organized crime group, consisting of at least 11 individuals including regional service heads and four chief inspectors, along with brokerage firm heads serving as go-betweens, was identified. Authorities highlight a sophisticated operation with members assigned specific roles and tasks, emphasizing the scheme's calculated nature.

Investigations reveal that the group amassed over $160,000 monthly through these corrupt dealings. During a series of 60 raids across various Ukrainian locales, law enforcement confiscated over $100,000 and UAH 500,000 (around $13,000) in illicit gains. Luxury vehicles, transaction record notebooks, and tech used in forging documents were also seized.

Five group members are currently in custody, facing charges of demanding unlawful benefits on a grand scale, with potential penalties ranging from significant fines and corrective labor to three years of imprisonment and restrictions on holding certain jobs or engaging in particular activities for up to two years.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine