Bosnia Investigates Alleged Purchase of Plant for Ukraine's Defence Ministry’s Funds Allocated for Mines
Tuesday, 31 October 2023
The Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina is checking the circumstances of the purchase of the explosives production plant Vitezit possibly bought for the funds of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, which were allocated for the contract on the supply of mortar bombs.
According to the Balkan service of Radio Liberty, the investigation is connected to the UAH 1.4 billion (US $36,842,105 – ed.) contract between the Ukrainian Defence Ministry and the defence company Lviv Arsenal, signed in November 2022. It envisaged the supply of a large batch of mortar bombs.
Ukraine has made a UAH 400 million (US $105,263) prepayment but the Lviv Arsenal, as reported by Ukrainska Pravda, has suspended the supply, after which the company was sued.
According to Radio Liberty, the Lviv Arsenal involved a Slovak company Sevotech to fulfil the contract. Sevotech, in turn, cooperates with WDG Promet based in Zagreb, which has an account in a Czech bank Podnikatelská družstevní zálazna, to which the funds of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry were transferred.
Even though the role of each of the participants of the scheme is being specified, it was likely planned to procure mortar bombs in Croatia.
Coincidentally, the owner of the Croatian WDG Promet Matias Zubak, the son of Croatian arms dealer Zvonok Zubak, bought the Vitezit explosives production plant in Bosnia and Herzegovina in December 2022 for €5.5 million. According to the information of Radio Liberty, Zubak received the money through WDG Promet from the account in the Czech Podnikatelská družstevní zálazna.
Zubak himself states that the funds from the account, US $5.6 million in total, were allegedly stolen from him by the bank employees in the Czech Republic by falsifying documents and signatures. He also says that the purchase of Vitezit is not connected with the contract of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry, and he had no problems with the Ukrainian side.
Meanwhile, the Podnikatelská družstevní zálazna bank insists that WDG Promet withdrew money from the account itself, and the bank informed the Czech financial regulator that it deemed this transaction suspicious. Kamil Babukh, spokesman of the financial regulator, directly blames the Zagreb company for "spending the Ukrainian money on the purchase of Vitezit" in a conversation with Radio Liberty.
The investigation of the circumstances of these transactions is being conducted by the Prosecutor’s Offices in Czechia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Czech side asked Bosnia through Europol to help it obtain the information about the activity of the companies involved and to provide necessary information from the banks of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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