Journalists and activists have found evidence that winter jackets for military personnel can be bought in Türkiye for much less than the Ministry of Defence purchased from the Turkish company Vector avia, one of whose owners is Oleksandr Kasai, the nephew of Hennadii Kasai, a member of the Servant of the People party.
Source: Nashi Hroshi, an investigative journalism programme exposing the corruption schemes of Ukrainian officials; Vitalii Shabunin, chairman of the board of the Anti-Corruption Action Centre; Yaroslav Zhelezniak, MP from the Holos Party
Quote from Nashi Hroshi: "Despite the attempts of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine to present the story of the purchase of Turkish jackets as something close to market realities, this is not the case. Here are some examples of how the price of US$86 per jacket is a super-margin deal worth $30 million. Here's a jacket for U$68 in Turkish lira (the exchange rate is 3.8 cents to one lira). Here's a jacket and trousers for US$55. Here's a jacket for US$39."
Details: These are all retail prices in Türkiye.
In the Turkish invoice, the jackets purchased by the Ministry of Defence were also valued at US$29, but the Ministry of Defence documents indicate a price of US$86 per piece.
Nashi Hroshi also noted that in Ukraine, the jackets from the Turkish supply had already been "put on sale" on OLX at a price of 1,000 hryvnias or US$27 per jacket. The jackets have now been sold.
As Nashi Hroshi said, out of the entire US$30 million shipment, at least nine million jackets weighed less than 1.5 kilograms. This was the weight that Deputy Defence Minister Denys Sharapov called normal for winter jackets at a meeting of the Verkhovna Rada's anti-corruption committee.
Quote from Nashi Hroshi: "Perhaps this includes the 50,000 jackets that Sharapov said remained in warehouses because, for some reason, the Ministry of Defence did not hand them over to soldiers at the front.
Perhaps the quality of these jackets is worth the price of US$27 a piece – fish fur, not suitable for the Ukrainian winter.
Perhaps this quality is consistent with the conclusion of the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise, which found that ‘the winter windproof jackets and winter windproof trousers delivered under contract No. VV2022-M1908 cannot be used for their intended purpose’."
Details: Shabunin also stated that "if [Defence Minister Oleksii] Reznikov had searched for Turkish jackets on the Internet, he would have bought them much cheaper: not for $86 a piece, but for, for example, US$50". He found such prices for winter jackets from Türkiye.
"Instead, the Ministry of Defence found the company of the nephew of a Servant of the People MP (from the Defence Committee of the Verkhovna Rada) and bought jackets from him at twice the price. Thus, Reznikov overpaid at least US$6.5 million of budget funds on this contract," Shabunin said.
In Shabunin’s opinion, this money could have bought 2,000 Mavic drones, but "Reznikov donated this US$6.5 million to the company of the nephew of a member of parliament (and the one from the Defence Committee of the Verkhovna Rada, who saw no problems with this purchase)".
"Someone stole on [purchase of] the jackets, and someone will die on the battlefield due to the lack of 'eyes' [drones]," Shabunin said.
MP Yaroslav Zhelezniak added that the retail prices quoted by Shabunin include VAT, while export prices do not, "so we can safely deduct 18% from the price for exports". Zheleznyak hinted that wholesale would be even cheaper: "I don't comment on the wholesale factor".
Learn more in an investigation by Ukrainska Pravda (with English subtitles): Servant of jackets for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Who is making money out of the war in Ukraine?
- On 10 August, the media outlet Dzerkalo Tyzhnia reported that in 2022, a Turkish company had sold summer jackets to the Armed Forces of Ukraine under the guise of winter jackets. The outlet’s website, ZN.UA, has a package of supporting documents for one of the batches of goods from Vector Avia. It shows how 4,900 jackets worth US$142,000 were transformed into 4,900 jackets worth US$421,000. On their way from Turkish to Ukrainian customs, the jackets gained in value from US$29 to US$86 per piece.
- At a meeting of the Anti-Corruption Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, it was reported that the scandal-ridden procurement of jackets and trousers for the Armed Forces involved a fake invoice scheme, that the supplier company was probably set up specifically for this supply, and that about 120,000 sets of uniforms are now in the hands of the military.
- Ukrainian Pravda found out that Vector Avia turned out to be co-owned by Oleksandr Kasai. He is the nephew of Hennadii Kasai, a Ukrainian MP and member of the Sluha Narodu (Servant of the People) party who sits on the Verkhovna Rada (Parliamentary) Committee for National Security, Defence and Intelligence.
- Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov responded to the accusations by offering Ukrainska Pravda journalist Mykhailo Tkach and MP Anastasiia Radina a wager. However, he did not comment on the fact that the co-owner of the Turkish company Vector Avia is the nephew of MP Kasai, nor could he explain "why some Turkish documents indicate the price of a winter jacket at US$29".