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Zelenskyy extends sanctions against smuggling kingpin and dozens of companies: who is on the list

Roman KostyuchenkoNews
Zelenskyy extends sanctions against Ukrainian smugglers
Zelenskyy extends sanctions against Ukrainian smugglers. Source: President's Office.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy has extended the National Security and Defense Council's sanctions against a number of Ukrainian and foreign companies – 86 in total. Restrictions have also been imposed on Vadym Alperin, who is called the "king of smuggling."

This is stated in the presidential decree of April 4. In addition, sanctions have been extended against other individuals suspected of smuggling. In particular:

  • Romanian and Ukrainian citizen Oleksandr Yerimichuk;
  • Romanian and Ukrainian citizen Yuriy Kushnir;
  • Ukrainian citizen Orest Firmaniuk;
  • Viktor Sherman, a citizen of Ukraine;
  • Andriy Popov, a citizen of Russia and Ukraine;
  • citizen of Russia and the Republic of Armenia Araik Amirkhanian.

The sanctions are imposed for a term of 3 to 10 years. They include, in particular:

  • blocking of assets;
  • restriction of trade operations;
  • restriction, partial or complete cessation of transit of resources, flights, and transportation through the territory of Ukraine;
  • prohibition of capital withdrawal from Ukraine;
  • prohibition of activities on the territory of Ukraine.

The restrictions also apply to 86 companies associated with Ukraine's top smugglers. Most of them are Ukrainian companies, but there are also "representatives" of Russia and China.

In addition, 2 companies are registered in the temporarily occupied Mariupol, Donetsk region. And 3 are registered in Sevastopol.

All companies are subject to sanctions for a period of 3 to 10 years. They include, among other things:

  • freezing of assets;
  • complete cessation of trading operations;
  • preventing the withdrawal of capital from Ukraine;
  • prohibition of participation in privatization.

The case of the "smuggling king" Alperin is reopened

Earlier, the Appeals Chamber of the High Anti-Corruption Court (HACC) overturned the closure of the case of the sanctioned Odesa businessman, the "smuggling king" Vadym Alperin, who was deprived of Ukrainian citizenship on April 14, 2021. The case concerned large-scale customs abuses and the creation of a criminal organization, which had been under investigation since 2019. Now the case will be heard anew, starting with the first instance of the HACC.

"On March 22, 2024, the HACC Appeals Chamber upheld the appeal of the SAPO prosecutor against the decision of the HACC panel of judges of 12.10.2023 (that's when the Alperin case was closed – Ed.) to close the case based on paragraph 10, part 1, art. 28 of corruption at customs against 6 people whose corrupt acts in 2016-2017 during customs clearance of goods imported into Ukraine caused the state losses for more than UAH 60 million After hearing the arguments of the parties, the court of appeal upheld the prosecutor's position and ordered a re-examination in the HACC," the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office said in a statement.

At the same time, the release does not mention Alperin's name, but according to journalist Oleh Novik, it is the case of the Odesa businessman. This is also indicated by the dates mentioned in the SAPO release.

The court closed the criminal proceedings in the Alperin case in October 2023 by a decision of the same panel of judges: Chairman Oleksandr Semennikov, judges Andriy Nikiforov and Dmytro Mykhailenko. The reason was the expiration of the pre-trial investigation after the notice of suspicion.

As a reminder, according to the prosecution, Alperin created and headed a criminal organization that imported goods into Ukraine at a reduced customs value. The investigation claims that companies from Alperin's orbit imported goods under false documents.

The customs declarations indicated the understated value of the goods. Customs officers then rejected these declarations because of the false value of the cargo and adjusted the value of the goods with violations, which became the basis for canceling such actions in court.

As a result, the goods were still imported into Ukraine at a lowered customs value, and the companies were refunded the financial guarantees they had transferred to customs officers to import the goods. This scheme at the Kyiv and Odesa customs offices became one of the largest in Ukraine and caused the state multimillion-dollar losses.

As OBOZ.UA reported, at the end of 2023, warehouses and offices of companies controlled by Alperin were searched in Ukraine. According to law enforcement, despite the sanctions, the businessman continued to coordinate tax evasion, money laundering, and smuggling in Ukraine.

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