Former top Ukrainian defense procurement chief arrested trying to flee, denies $40m theft charges

The case of embezzlement of almost 1.5 billion hryvnias ($39.6 million) for the purchase of shells for the Armed Forces of Ukraine involves the former head of the Department of Military Technical Policy, Oleksandr Liyev, news outlet Hromadske reported on Jan. 28, citing a source in law enforcement. He was indicted and detained on Jan. 27.

Liyev himself later commented on his indictment, denying the charges. A Facebook post published on Jan. 28 said that it was written by his wife, from the words of the former official.

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According to Ukraine’s SBU security service and the Ministry of Defense, one suspected former defense official was detained when he tried to travel abroad.

Liyev denies any attempts to escape Ukraine. He left Ukraine several times in 2023, and this time he was going on a business trip to Slovakia “to inspect mine-clearing machines” and planned to return by Feb. 5, he said.

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“I think the charges are ridiculous,” Liyev said, promising to “prove his case in court.”

“I consider this detention an unfortunate misunderstanding. I feel confident in my legal actions.”

The SBU announced on the evening of Jan. 27 that with the assistance of the Defense Ministry, it had exposed officials of the department and managers of the Lviv Arsenal who had stolen almost 1.5 billion hryvnias ($39.6 million) for the purchase of shells. According to the investigation, former and current senior officials of the Defense Ministry and heads of affiliated companies were involved.

They were indicted under the article on misappropriation, embezzlement, or seizure of property through abuse of office committed by an organized group. The defendants face up to 12 years in prison with confiscation of property.

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SBU

Amid a corruption scandal involving the procurement of food for the Armed Forces, the Ministry of Defense announced on Feb. 3, 2023, that Oleksandr Liyev had resigned of his own free will.

Sources of the news outlet Ukrainska Pravda media outlet claimed on Feb. 3, 2023, that Liyev had a Russian passport. He denied it himself, and the Defense Ministry did not confirm such statements either.

The journalists apologized to Liyev for the published article and issued a retraction.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine

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