On Monday, May 15, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) issued notices of suspicion for misappropriation and embezzlement against Dmytro Firtash, a well-known Ukrainian oligarch and pro-Russian politician. Top management officials of his companies, including the Regional Gas Company (RGC), are also suspected of invovlement in the conspiracy.

The SBU posted on its website that Firtash and his top managers were involved in a large-scale scheme to embezzle blue fuel from Ukraine’s gas transportation system. According to the investigation, in 2021 alone, this amounted to more than Hr. 4.2 billion ($113 million) in losses to the country. During the period of 2016 to 2022, the total amount of losses may exceed Hr.18 billion ($487 million).

According to the SBU, the money went through the oligarch’s businesses which supplied gas to the homes of Ukrainians. RGC manages 70 percent of Ukraine’s gas distribution networks.

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The report says RGC bought fuel from other companies under its control but received only 30 percent of the gas volume paid for. The deficit created by this fraud was covered at the expense of the state. The SBU website says the “companies simply took fuel from the gas transportation system of Ukraine” and the state did not receive money for this.

“Officials of Firtash’s gas companies embezzled more than 70 percent of the funds intended for the purchase of blue fuel. In fact, we are talking about the appropriation of the money of ordinary Ukrainians who paid utility bills,” the SBU reports.

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Artem Shylo, who had also worked for the SBU, is being held for two months on Hr.30 million ($770,000) bail.

Dmytro Firtash is the owner of Group DF, which is active in the nitrogen, titanium, gas and banking industries. He also owns the Ukrainian TV channel Inter.

Firtash was also closely connected with the regime of fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych. Russian political analyst Andriy Piontkovsky and some other journalists consider Firtash one of “Putin’s wallets” and an accomplice in the Crimean scenario.

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In 2014, he was detained in Vienna at the request of the FBI on suspicion of paying $18 million in bribes to Indian officials to obtain permits for the extraction of titanium deposits in India. The US demanded the extradition of the oligarch, and in 2019 the Austrian court agreed to this decision. Firtash is currently under house arrest. His lawyers appealed the court decision. Firtash has lost most of trials. In the US, Firtash faces 50 years in prison and confiscation of all property.

Since June 18, 2021, Firtash has been under sanctions imposed by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine for allegedly selling titanium to Russian defense enterprises.

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