SBU carries out searches at HQ of OKKO filling station network
The company is accused of operating filling stations in the occupied territory and deriving profit from that.
The SBU Security Service of Ukraine said its agents exposed the mechanism for financing occupation "administrations" in seized Ukrainian territories through the illegal functioning of the OKKO filling station network in the territory of Crimea and occupied parts of Donbas.
According to the SBU's press center, "certain Ukrainian commercial structures" have set up an illegal scheme to maintain control over the network of filling stations in the occupied territories of Crimea (at least nine stations) and Donetsk region (some 10 stations).
According to the agency, part of the fuel was supplied to the unrecognized "republics" ["DPR"/"LPR"].
Read alsoUkraine anti-trust watchdog fines gasoline stations operators for price collusion
OKKO CEO Vitaliy Antonov at a press conference confirmed information that the law enforcers had conducted searches in OKKO HQ on suspicion of financing terrorism.
He explained that the company was accused of having operated filling stations in the occupied territory and derived profit.
"We don't even know who's at these gas stations [in "DPR" and "LPR"] today. We know that out of 25 stations, two were blown up and 23 are not being managed by anyone. We don't know, we have no contacts with these people," Antonov noted, adding that the company does consult its former workers from Crimea although, he says, OKKO gets no profit from Crimean stations' operations.
Read alsoTracking money laundering: Finance watchdog detects UAH 300 bln worth of suspicious transactions
In turn, Managing Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus Francis Malige said such actions by law enforcers did not benefit the investment climate in Ukraine, and called on the authorities to sort out the situation using methods accepted in international practice. He also stressed the EBRD was ready to cooperate with the authorities in the matter.
UNIAN memo. OKKO is one of Ukraine's largest networks of filling stations (Galnaftogaz Concern) is part of OKKO Group Holding. As of today, the network consists of about 400 filling stations and 10 petroleum depots.
Galnaftogaz Concern is also engaged in wholesale trade in petroleum products.
OKKO Group Holding is also represented in the natural gas market. Its shareholders include the EBRD, Goldman Sachs, investment companies Horizon Capital, Renaissance Capital, and others.