Ukraine Exposes Embezzlement of ‘Combat Bonuses’

Ukraine Exposes Embezzlement of ‘Combat Bonuses’

06 July 2023 ( Kyive Post )

Investigators from the State Bureau of Investigation (DBR), in collaboration with employees of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), have served a notice of suspicion, a legal step taken prior to indictment, to the commander of a military unit in the Donetsk region and four of his subordinates.

The individuals are reported to have facilitated an illegal scheme to fraudulently extract “combat” bonuses for military units deployed far away from the front line. These bonus funds are allocated for soldiers engaged in active fighting duties in hostile environments. The perpetrators are alleged to have illegally drawn the money using this scheme for a period of seven months, resulting in approximately Hr. 5 million (equivalent to around $135,000) in damages to the state.

Information about the investigation was published on the official page of the DBR on July 3.

The investigation reveals that the defendants include nine servicemen from the unit who were listed as payment beneficiaries, despite their being stationed outside the Donetsk region. As a result, they did not participate in direct combat operations but received all the payments that would normally be attributed by law. Specifically, between March and September 2022, each was allegedly in receipt of a monthly payment of Hr. 100,000 ($2,700) to their bank accounts. 

During the investigation, authorities conducted searches that resulted in the seizure of documents purportedly used by the suspects to commit fraud in relation to the combat bonus scheme.

The Specialized Prosecutor’s Office for Defense in the Eastern Region is overseeing the procedural management of the case. Currently, the relevant authorities are deciding on appropriate next steps which may include detention of the suspects.

The commander of the military unit has been charged with embezzlement and misappropriation of property belonging to others. The crimes were reportedly committed by an organized group through the abuse of their official positions on a significant scale. Additionally, the official is accused of intentionally issuing false official documents, in violation of Part 5 of Article 191 and Part 1 of Article 366 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

The four subordinates are suspected of embezzlement and wrongful appropriation of property belonging to others. They are also believed to have committed these crimes as part of an organized group, abusing their official positions on a significant scale. These charges align with Part 5 of Article 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

If found guilty, the defendants may face imprisonment for up to 12 years, along with the confiscation of their assets, as stipulated by the relevant articles.