April 24, 2015

24/04/2015: Ukraine investigates suspected financial corruption in state food and grain corporation

http://www.kyivpost.com/content/business/ukraine-investigates-suspected-financial-corruption-in-state-food-and-grain-corporation-386979.htmlThe more that authorities and current company officials dig, the more multimillion-dollar embezzlement schemes they uncover at the state-owned State Food and Grain Corporation, Olena Gordiienko writes for the Kyiv Post.

Founded in August 2010 under Viktor Yanukovych’s presidency, such government agencies have since become the focus of criticism by international lenders, business associations and grain traders for widespread graft and stifling competition.

The depth and scope of corruption have only begun to surface since last year and continue to raise eyebrows.

Valery Tomilenko, the acting head of the state-run grain trader, said that the company lost 100 million Ukranian Hryvnia (US$4.39 million) a month last year through fraudulent scams, according to an April 15 statement on the Agriculture Ministry’s website.

Five days later, he told Interfax Ukraine news agency that in one scheme, the state corporation lost US$132 million related to the sale of grain through four offshore companies using money that China gave Ukraine as part of a loan-for-grain deal.

That scheme spanned for most of 2014, he told the Kyiv Post by phone.In the course of another investigation, the Security Service of Ukraine, or SBU, said the government-owned grain trader caused $500,000 in damages to the state in a fraudulent grain contract with a Swiss company during the last week of December, just days after Tomilenko’s appointment.
The deal was also part of the Chinese loan-for-grain deal that was sealed in 2012.

Regarding the SBU’s allegations, Tomilenko said he is ready to answer “all law enforcement inquiries should they arise and provide documentary evidence of the legality of the transaction.”

His predecessors who ran the state corporation in 2014 when the bulk of the scams allegedly took place, Ihor Yakubovych and Petro Vovchuk, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Read more HERE.

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