Petro Vovchuk, former chairman of the board of the State Food and Grain Corporation of Ukraine (SFGCU), was extradited from Lithuania to Ukraine on March 13, upon the request of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU). He has been on the Ukrainian wanted list since March 2017 and had been detained in Lithuania since 2019, fighting extradition in court hearings.

In 2014, ex-officials of the SFGCU along with international grain trader Aleksei Fedorychev, a Monaco-based Russian oligarch, organized a corruption scheme. NABU claims the corporation’s grain was supplied to Saudi Arabia through a chain of intermediaries controlled by Ukrainian officials and the Russian oligarch. The SFGCU never received the payment for the grain and its losses amounted to more than $60 million (1.6 billion Hr.).

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NABU has been investigating the case since 2016. Two suspects have made a plea bargain and paid $60 thousand as compensation for SFGCU’s losses. The cases of Fedorychev and an advisor to Vovchuk have been submitted for court consideration.

Set up in 2010, the State Food and Grain Corporation of Ukraine was supposed to become a leading state-owned grain exporter. Instead it turned into a “corporation of corruption monsters” as Ukrainian media “Ekonomichna Pravda” put it in its investigation. Since Viktor Yanukovych’s presidency, it has served as a “corruption feeder” for various governments and political forces.

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In 2012, the Corporation borrowed $1.5 billion from the Chinese Export-Import Bank under governmental guarantee for a yearly supply of six million tons of grain to China. Part of this credit was used to finance the above-mentioned corrupt deal.

The Corporation has so far failed to fulfill its obligations and current indebtedness exceeds $1 billion. In December 2022, the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers confirmed the governmental obligation to pay off the debt.

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