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Former Head of the Ministry of Health Stepanov Announced Suspicion of Fraud With Passports

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau announced the disclosure of a corruption scheme in the state enterprise “Printing Plant Ukraine” in 2013-2016.

It is reported by RBC-Ukraine with reference to NABU.

It should be noted that the name of the suspects has not been officially indicated, however, a RBC-Ukraine source in law enforcement agencies confirmed that they are Maksim Stepanov, who was later appointed head of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

NABU and SAPO investigators succeeded in exposing a large-scale scheme of embezzlement of funds from the state enterprise “Printing Plant “Ukraine” in the amount of more than 450 million hryvnias. This became possible thanks to cooperation within the framework of an international investigation team on investigators from Ukraine, Estonia and France under the auspices of Eurojust.

According to NABU, on July 21, 2023, 5 persons were notified of suspicion. This is a former director and ex-head of the department of the State Enterprise “Polygraph Combine and an individual-allowance of a crime. In addition, documents were sent to Estonia to notify two citizens of this country of suspicion (the director and manager of a controlled company).

It was established that in 2013, the then head of the Polygraph Combine purchased an Estonian company for nominees. He expressed to foreign partners a mandatory requirement for cooperation – the supply of products through the “necessary” company.

He also organized the purchase of materials on which blank documents were produced – passports of Ukrainian citizens, ID cards, driver’s licenses, etc. through a shell company. Further, the laying company bought materials directly from manufacturers and resold them to a state-owned enterprise at a 4-6 times higher cost.

“During 2013-2016, because of this scheme, a group of attackers seized funds in the amount of about half a billion hryvnia,” the NABU said.

NABU found out that the former director of Polygraph Combine hid the sale of 45% of his shares in the enterprise, which is valued at $100,000, to another controlled company for $1.35 million.

“Then I declared them, which actually gave me the opportunity to use them. Part of the funds in the amount of $150,000 was transferred directly to the accounts of the ex-director’s relatives,” the NABU said.

It was established that the ex-director received a patent for a controlled company for the intellectual property rights to implanted security elements used in Ukrainian passports. This means that each citizen, receiving documents, paid not only the cost as a result of overpricing during purchases, but also “donating” the official for his “intellectual contribution”.

“However, the detectives took measures to eliminate this scheme. In early 2022, the Government supported the NABU initiative, changed the technical requirements and images of the security elements of Ukrainian documents, which made it possible to get rid of dependence on the results of the “intellectual work” of the ex-head of the Polygraph Combine,” the NABU summed up.

It should be noted that NABU did not name the defendants. However, it is known that during 2011-2016, the State Enterprise “Polygraph Combine “Ukraine” was headed by Maxim Stepanov.

Read more about the situation around the production of Ukrainian biometric passports in the RBC-Ukraine article.

Recall that the Verkhovna Rada dismissed the Minister of Health Maksim Stepanov on April 18, 2021. The profile committee has not previously supported the proposal of Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal to dismiss the head of the Ministry of Health.

Source : RBC