Ukraine: officials stole $40 million intended to buy weapons
Five officials have reportedly charged, including one arrested while trying to cross Ukraine border
Ukrainian authorities have charged five individuals, including employees of a Ukrainian arms company, with embezzling nearly $40 million earmarked for the purchase of 100,000 mortar rounds for the conflict with Russia.
One individual has been arrested while attempting to cross the Ukrainian border. If found guilty, the accused could face up to 12 years in prison.
The investigation, launched as part of Ukraine's anti-corruption efforts, began in August 2022 when a contract for artillery shells worth $39.6 million was signed with the arms company Lviv Arsenal. The company was tasked with transferring the funds to an overseas-registered entity for the delivery of ammunition to Ukraine.
However, the investigation revealed that the goods were never delivered, and the funds were diverted to various accounts in Ukraine and the Balkans.
Ukraine's commitment to combating corruption is a key requirement for its aspirations to join the European Union and NATO, with both blocs demanding robust anti-corruption reforms from Kyiv before considering its membership.