NABU, SAPO suspect six persons of UAH 80 million lighter ships scheme

On Jan. 25, 2024, NABU and SAPO, in cooperation with the SSU, exposed six members of an organized criminal group, who seized property of PJSC "Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company" worth over UAH 80 million.

As established, in August 2017, two deputies of the Odesa Regional Council developed a scheme to misappropriate lighter ships from Ukrainian Danube Shipping to further use them for the construction of larger barges for their own commercial purposes. To this end, they involved three individuals and the then-director of the PJSC. He then entered into contracts with a company controlled by the deputies, which chartered 18 lighter ships worth about UAH 44.3 million. When the employment contract of the PJSC director expired, the organizers of the scheme misled the new executives into striking additional agreements for leasing 14 more ships worth UAH 38.35 million.

Subsequently, 32 lighter ships were taken to the Republic of Turkey, where they underwent dismantling and conversion into 12 barges. The organizers of the crime then towed the barges to Ukraine and registered them with companies under their control.

The suspects are: 
- two former deputies of the Odesa Regional Council (organizers);
- the former head of the PJSC;
- three accomplices in the crime.

Their actions fall under: Part 5 of Art. 191 (version of the article valid on 12.06.2018); Part 4 of Art. 190 (version of the article valid on 09.11.2018) and Part 3 of Art. 209 (version of the article valid on 28.04.2020) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

As part of the NABU and SAPO investigation, the newly constructed barges were seized and transferred to ARMA.

According to Article 62 of the Constitution of Ukraine, a person is considered not-guilty in the commission of a crime and cannot be subject to criminal punishment until he or she is found guilty by court.