Law and justice

The SBI exposed a large-scale corruption scheme in the State Production and Consumer Service of Ukraine

They organized a multimillion-dollar scheme to extort exporters

The SBI exposed the officials of the State Production and Consumer Service in Odesa and Zaporizhzhia regions, who organized a multimillion-dollar scheme of extortion from exporters of the "grain corridor". On April 2, the persons involved in the case were searched.

According to specified on the DBR website, the scheme consisted in demanding money for the issuance of phytosanitary certificates necessary for the export and import of agricultural products, as well as for the production of certificates of inspection results necessary for the export of barley and grain.

Sources report that employees of the State Production and Consumer Service created artificial obstacles during the preparation of documents for the export of grain to China and through intermediaries demanded a fee of $2 for each ton of exported grain. At the same time, only from the beginning of 2024, 1 million 600 thousand tons of grain were exported to China.

According to the SBI, the group included more than 11 people, including the head of the State Production and Consumer Service State Administration in Zaporizhzhia region, the head of the Department of Phytosanitary Safety of the State State Production and Consumer Service State Administration in Odesa region, as well as State Production and Consumer Service inspectors from two regions and managers of brokerage companies who acted as intermediaries.

According to preliminary estimates, the "dealers" received more than 160 US dollars per month from their illegal activities.

60 searches were conducted in different regions of Ukraine during which more than 100 US dollars and 500 UAH were found and seized from illegal activities, 8 elite-class cars were seized, notebooks with a list of the distribution of sums among the participants of the scheme, as well as draft records and computer equipment on which the seized documents were produced; other objects and things that will serve as evidence during the pre-trial investigation.

Five members of the criminal group were detained: they were informed of suspicions of receiving an unlawful demand in a particularly large amount (Part 3 of Article 368 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

The names of the participants in the crime are not publicly disclosed, but insider sources in the law enforcement agencies report that the organizers and curators of the scheme are allegedly ex-SBU employee Yuriy Potokin and former employees of phytosanitary from the times of Viktor Yanukovych, namely:

Vadim Simonov — former head of the Department of Phytosanitary Service of Ukraine, Vitaly Romanchenko — ex-deputy head of the Department of the Phytosanitary Service of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuzishen - former head of phytosanitary service of Odesa region.

Sources in the SGB claim that Serhiy Tkachuk, the recently appointed head of the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection, returned officials marked by numerous scandals to their posts at the behest of the above-mentioned people. For example, the former chief phytosanitary inspector of Ukraine was appointed as the director of the phytosanitary control department Andrii Chelombitko, who was linked in the media with corruption and poaching; deputy of the State Consumer Service - Vadym Chaikovsky, head of the State Consumer Service in the Odesa region - Volodymyr Kusturov, who allegedly has a valid court decision on ineligibility for the position held, the head of the State Consumer Service in the Zaporizhia region — Viktor Shyba, etc.

According to the sources, in order to "legalize the extortions", the criminal group may have included commercial companies, which probably relate to the organizers of the scheme:


as well as "partner" companies:


LLC "V.E.T.A." (EDRPOU code 23987931)

As a result of investigative actions and large-scale searches by the SBI employees, evidence of illegal actions on the part of the mentioned persons was found, the investigation is ongoing.


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