The SBI exposed a large-scale scheme of extortion from exporters of the “grain corridor” in Odessa

Under the procedural leadership of the Prosecutor General’s Office, employees of the State Security Bureau exposed a large-scale scheme of extortion by officials of the State Service of Ukraine on food safety and consumer protection in the Odessa region.

Officials took bribes from business that export grain crops through the sea ports of the Odessa region along the so-called “grain corridor”. Everyone who wanted to obtain a phytosanitary certificate and other permits quickly and easily had to pay a certain amount through intermediaries.

In order to hide their illegal actions, the officials identified separate commercial enterprises, which, under the guise of consultations and fumigation services to exporters of grain crops, acted as intermediaries in receiving an illegal benefit.

As part of the pre-trial investigation, a number of searches are being conducted today at the place of work and residence of the persons involved in the criminal proceedings.

Currently, money from illegal activities, documentary materials, and other objects and things that will serve as evidence during the pre-trial investigation, have already been seized.

It is planned to adopt a decision on the announcement of suspicions to officials involved in bribery in accepting an offer, promise or receiving an illegal benefit by an official (Part 3 of Article 368 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

The sanction of the article provides for punishment in the form of imprisonment for a term of up to 10 years with confiscation of property.

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