ESBU reported this, Ukrinform says.
According to ESBU, sanctioned oligarch Dmytro Firtash and the top management of enterprises controlled by him are involved in embezzlement. Among them are the managers of the Regional Gas Company (RGC), which covers 70% of all gas distribution networks of Ukraine through 20 city and regional gas companies.
"During 2021, the participants' illegal activities caused losses to the state of more than UAH 4.2 billion. This is confirmed by the data of the forensic economic examination. The total amount of damage, according to preliminary estimates, for 2016-2022 may amount to more than UAH 18 billion. Evidence has been received on Firtash's instructions to company managers, communication between them, mechanisms for withdrawal of funds, and attempts to hide traces of illegal activity," the report reads.
According to the investigation materials, the officials of "Firtash's regional gas companies" embezzled the lion's share of the funds intended for the purchase of gas. It is essentially about the appropriation of money of citizens who paid utility bills.
RGC transferred the tariff funds received from subscribers to the controlled company Yie enerhiia, which belongs to the oligarch, supposedly as a prepayment for gas supply, but in fact almost no deliveries took place. The money was transferred to controlled companies and appropriated.
"To cover the deficit, RGC, through regional gas companies under its control, unauthorizedly withdrew gas from the network of the state company 'Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine', in a much larger volume than it paid for. In fact, the group carried out unauthorized withdrawal of gas that was in the gas transportation system and belonged to the state," the ESBU claims.
As part of the criminal proceedings, ESBU detectives together with SSU, under the procedural guidance of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, conducted searches in the offices and residences of the criminal scheme organizers.
Nine persons involved (Firtash, three heads of RGС, and five heads of regional gas companies) were notified of suspicion under Art. 28, Art. 191, and Art. 209 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (appropriation or embezzlement of property by abuse of official position, committed on a particularly large scale by an organized group, and legalization (laundering) of property obtained by criminal means).
Of these, five people were notified of suspicion in absentia, as they are hiding abroad. Currently, the issue of declaring them on the international wanted list is being resolved.
As reported, ESBU and SSU recently searched the offices of 16 regional gas companies across the country.