The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has uncovered a scheme for embezzling public funds at the state-owned Odessa Commercial Seaport, the press service of the SBU announced in a statement.

According to the statement, contrary to the interests of the seaport, several of its facilities were leased to private entrepreneurs, as a result of which the seaport artificially lost the ability to provide the full range of stevedoring services, thus reducing revenues into Ukraine’s state budget. The scheme involved officials of the seaport, the Ministry of Infrastructure, and the State Property Fund.

In addition, channels for smuggling goods into Ukraine were created through the leased port facilities, the statement said.

Directly at the seaport’s checkpoint, law enforcement officials stopped a truck that was transporting containers of consumer goods worth an estimated UAH 7 million that were illegally taken out of the seaport without customs clearance. An investigation has been launched.

A special group that was seconded from the central office of the SBU uncovered the scheme.

The CFTS is monitoring the development of the situation.