The SBI is investigating a scheme of cigarette smuggling from Belarus worth almost half a million dollars


Employees of the State Bureau of Investigation in close cooperation with the Prosecutor's Office exposed a large-scale scheme of smuggling tobacco products from Belarus under the guise of alleged transit through Ukraine. The participants of the scheme smuggled over 50 million packs of cigarettes worth 440 thousand US dollars.

According to preliminary estimates, the state budget lost UAH 80 million in customs duties and taxes.

On October 24, 2022, the SBI officers reported suspicion to two senior state inspectors of Chernivtsi Customs who participated in this large-scale scheme.

Due to the impossibility of direct deliveries from Belarus, the organizers "paved" the route through Europe. In the shipping documents for the European control services, they indicated that the goods were allegedly in transit to Georgia. But at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, the trucks with cigarettes were passing under other documents - under the guise of empty vehicles.

Customs officers accepted these false documents and did not prepare any protocols on the import of cigarettes. However, they knew exactly what was in the trucks.

The illegally imported cigarettes were sold on the territory of Ukraine.

Two senior state inspectors of the Chernivtsi Customs were served notices of suspicion of complicity in evasion of obligatory payments, by prior conspiracy by a group of persons, which resulted in actual non-receipt of funds to the budget in especially large amounts, in deliberate introduction of dangerous products into circulation, forgery, as well as abuse of power that caused grave consequences (Part. 2 Art. 27, Part 3 Art. 212, Part 2 Art. 27, Art. 227, Part 2 Art. 27, Part 1 Art. 366, Part 3 Art. 365 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

The issue of choosing a pre-trial restraint and removing them from their posts is being decided.

The sanction of the article provides for punishment in the form of imprisonment for up to 10 years.

The SBI continues the pre-trial investigation in relation to other participants of the scheme.

The procedural guidance is provided by the Chernivtsi Region Prosecutor's Office.