The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine has launched a joint investigation together with the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) into a criminal scheme involving embezzlement and the appropriation of more than $3.8 million "in the procurement of goods, works and services in the interests of the State Tax Service of Ukraine.", as reported on the website of the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine.
According to the Office of the Prosecutor General, officials of the State Tax Service (STS) of Ukraine and economic entities in the private sector committed unlawful actions in 2016-2017 while performing works of "engineering and technical development on the Ukrainian-Russian state border and territories adjacent to the demarcation line in the Donbas and the Crimea (aka the "Wall" project). According to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office, they appropriated more than 100 million UAH (more than $3.8 million) of budgetary funds.
Representatives of the supervisory authority have specified that "a complex of urgent investigative actions is being conducted" at the current time in connection with the investigation of this case. According to authorities, material evidence has already been "obtained", which confirms "the involvement of officials of the State Tax Service of Ukraine and the said economic entities in the implementation of unlawful activities".
The "Wall" project involves the construction of a barrier on the border of Ukraine and Russia. Construction is being handled by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. The first stage began in 2015. At that time, the work was carried out in Chernihiv, Sumy and Kharkiv regions. The second stage envisaged the construction of barriers in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
The head of the Kharkiv region, Yulia Svetlichnaya, said in January that the construction of the barrier would be put on hold. The day after Svetlichnaya met with the head of the State Border Service of Ukraine, Viktor Nazarenko, it was announced that the construction of the wall on the border with Russia would resume in April-May 2017.
In a message published on the website of the Kharkiv regional state administration, it was pointed out that "construction is now truly suspended, due to weather conditions and lack of financing at the current time." At that time, $200 million USD was allocated in the Ukrainian budget to resume the construction of the wall.