Man Detained in Greece for Embezzling Ukraine Defense Funds

Greek police car
A Ukrainian national accused of embezzling $1.17 million from Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence was arrested in Athens, Greece. Credit: Maxim Reniţa / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 4.0

A Ukrainian citizen, suspected of embezzling $1.17 million from Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence, was apprehended in Athens, Greece. The individual, whose identity remains undisclosed, was reportedly detained in Athens on November 13th.

The arrest is the result of an investigation that uncovered the suspect’s collaboration with others in diverting funds. It is reported that the suspect served as the director of a company during the period in question.

From March 2nd to May 10th of the previous year, the suspect purportedly appropriated funds that a company had received as an advance payment for military procurement from Ukraine’s Defense Ministry. At that time, the suspect collaborated with other individuals in the scheme, as indicated by the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office.

Formal charges were filed against the individual on July 12, 2022. Furthermore, on November 6, 2023, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine formally requested that Greek authorities detain and temporarily arrest the suspect. Ukraine also requested Interpol to issue a red notice for the suspect. Consequently, the Athens Court of Appeal carried out the temporary arrest.

Currently, the suspect is in temporary detention in Greece, and the process for extradition is underway, according to Ukrainian media.

US Charged Greek Businessman for Alleged Role in Russia’s Support

In May, Greek businessman Dr. Nikolaos ‘Nikos’ Bogonikolos, head of Aratos Group, faced extradition to the US after being arrested in Paris on May 9th. He was accused of conspiring to aid Russian military development by smuggling sensitive technologies. Aratos, previously a NATO Innovation Challenge finalist, was accused of circumventing US export controls and sanctions, allegedly supplying Russia with sensitive technologies.

A federal court in Brooklyn unsealed a criminal complaint on May 16th, charging Bogonikolos with wire fraud conspiracy. The Greek businessman was accused of double-dealing, ostensibly operating as a defense contractor for NATO while allegedly assisting in Russia’s war effort.

US Attorney Breon Peace stated, “Our Office continues to work tirelessly to ensure that disruptive technologies do not fall into the wrong hands.” FBI Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll detailed the allegations. He confirmed that Bogonikolos conspired with a network of companies orchestrated by Russian intelligence services to fraudulently acquire and smuggle US-origin military and dual-use technologies. This was for the purpose of aiding Russia’s defense and security sectors.

Aratos, specializing in space technologies, homeland security, blockchain, and drone response systems, had its affiliated company, Aratos Systems BV, nominated as a NATO Innovation Challenge finalist in 2021. The Greek businessman had allegedly smuggled US-origin technologies to Russia since at least 2017.

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