According to the press centre of State Bureau of Investigation of Ukraine (SBI), Bureau’s investigators have completed a pre-trial inquiry into the case of two criminal groups that were committing an illegal deforestation of state forest resources on the territory of Pokrovs’ke and Yurivs’ke forestries of the state-owned enterprise “Olevs’k forestry” in Zhytomyr region.
The investigators established that the founder and the leader of two organized groups for performing illegal logging was the head of forgoing state enterprise. During different periods the group consisted of 25 persons amidst forestry’s state forest protection officials; specialized forest-protection enterprise officials and individual entrepreneurs.
As it is explained on the site of State Bureau of Investigation, “during the assignment of plantings for sanitary felling, the official documents were filled with understated data on the amount and quality of trees zoned for felling. Undocumented trees were further used for internal requirements, including illegal deforestations on the objects of nature preserve fund”.
Due to the logging of over 680 trees and 732-cubic-metre undervaluation of industrial wood yield only in the period from July to September 2019 there was caused damage to the extent of over 5.7 million hryvnias ($200,000).
The persons are suspected in illegal logging, document forgery, abuse of power and forgery in office (articles 246, 358, 365, 366 of Criminal Code of Ukraine with different forms of complicity). If convicted, they are liable to be imprisoned for the period up to 10 years with the deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or be engaged in certain activities for the period up to 3 years.
It is to be recalled that illegal wood logging is considered one of the main factors of Ukraine’s fiscal security.
Translated by Anna Vent