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Ukrainian Diplomats Accused Of Smuggling Gold, Cash, And Goods

The contraband was found after customs officials stopped a truck with diplomatic license plates at the Ukrainian-Polish border. (file photo)

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) says it has disrupted a ring of former and current Ukrainian diplomats accused of smuggling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of goods -- including gold and foreign currency.

In a statement on March 1, the SBU said the diplomats, whose identities were not disclosed, used the diplomatic mail system and diplomatic documents to smuggle excise goods to and from the European Union.

According to the statement, the group of diplomats illegally moved foreign currency, gold, and tobacco items across the border.

The SBU said its counterintelligence officers, along with investigators from the State Bureau of Investigations (DBR) stopped a truck with diplomatic license plates at the Yahodyn customs point on the Ukrainian-Polish border.

Officials of the Foreign Ministry had tried to use the truck to smuggle to the European Union $140,000, 67,200 euros ($81,100), 11,600 Polish zlotys ($3,060), 16 kilograms of gold worth some $530,000, tobacco goods worth of $53,000 at black market, it added.

The statement added that a probe has been launched into the affair, saying the suspects, the number of whom was not made clear, have not been officially charged.

"It is important to shine light on such cases, make them public. We need to break the shameful approach of not taking the trash out of the house. It needs to be taken out or we will be living in trash," Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a post on Facebook.

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