Counteraction to smuggling groups according to SBU findings
According to SBU findings, a number of measures will be taken to suppress activity of smuggling groups, including legal entities and individuals. The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine made relevant decisions, based on SBU data.
"The security service is well aware of how important the fight against smuggling is for the state. That is why we pay special attention to the issue and our respective efforts are very effective. Thus, during 2020 and early 2021, as a result of the SBU activity, smuggled items and violations of customs regulations worth UAH 534 m (USD 19 m) were seized," said Ivan Bakanov.
He noted that according to the SBU investigations, over 138 million fines were imposed, and offenders were charged more than UAH 2.7 b (USD 97 m) in customs duties.
"The SBU efforts in the given area result in significant economic effect," said Ivan Bakanov.
In total, three organized criminal groups involved in smuggling were neutralized, 87 criminal proceedings were instituted, and 52 people were convicted.
High-profile cases include:
- suppression of a criminal group in Kharkiv region, which organized a large-scale supply of Ukrainian military aircraft equipment to Russia;
- suppression of an international group, involved in manufacture and smuggling of steroids, in cooperation with Eurojust, Europol and law enforcement officers from France, Poland and Slovakia;
- detection of seven large batches of cocaine in the Pivdennyi Sea Port, etc.
A separate area of activity is the fight against corruption at the customs border. During 2020-2021, the SBU initiated 82 pre-trial investigations. 109 officials received suspicion notices, 20 individuals were convicted.
"Systematic work is ongoing. Thus, smuggling-related threats to national security affect not only revenues to the state budget. In terms of drugs and weapons, they first and foremost affect security of citizens," the SBU Head added.