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Court arrests ex-Defense Ministry official in connection with weapons procurement fraud

The Appeals Chamber of Ukraine’s High Anti-Corruption Court ordered the arrest of Oleksandr Liyev, former head of the Defense Ministry department in charge of weapons procurement, the Anti-Corruption Action Center reported on February 12.

Liyev was detained in the courtroom and will remain detained until April 8 unless he posts bail, set at 50 million hours ($1.3 million), the center wrote on Telegram.

His case is related to a corruption scheme revealed by the SBU on January 27 that involved the acquisition of almost 100,000 mortar shells, worth almost 1.5 billion hours ($40 million).

The SBU said the investigation had “exposed Defense Ministry officials and managers of arms supplier Lviv Arsenal, who stole almost Hr1.5 billion in the purchase of shells.”

Among those involved in the embezzlement are former and current senior officials of the Ministry of Defense, as well as heads of associated companies.

According to the SBU, a projectile contract was secured with the Lviv Arsenal in August 2022, six months after the full-scale invasion. Payment was made in advance, including the transfer of funds abroad. However, no weapons were delivered and some funds were later moved to other accounts abroad.

Five people were charged, both from the ministry and the weapons supplier. A suspect was reportedly detained while attempting to cross the border into Ukraine.

If Liyev is released on bail, he will be required to wear an electronic bracelet and surrender his international passport, among other restrictive measures, the center said.

“The bail does not match my salary and income. I am very shocked by the (court’s) decision,” Liyev said in a video posted on Facebook, calling it “a punishment for the responsibility” he assumed in his position at the Ministry of Defending.

Liyev denies the allegations and said he will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Also read: Government agrees to carry out defense acquisitions through the Prozorro system

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