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Ukraine's ambassador to Slovakia fired due to cigarettes smuggling scandal

Ukraine's ambassador to Slovakia fired due to cigarettes smuggling scandalUkrainian President Petro Poroshenko has fired Oleh Havashi from the post of Ukraine's ambassador to Slovakia.

Poroshenko signed relevant decree No. 232/2016 on Friday, June 3, the president's official website said.

The State Fiscal Service branch in Zakarpattia region reported earlier that on May 21, 2016, a Volkswagen Transporter van driven by a citizen of Ukraine entered the "green corridor" of the checkpoint. At the customs control, he presented a diplomatic pass of a citizen of Ukraine, a certificate of registration of the vehicle, and a letter of one of Ukraine's embassies that the car is carrying diplomatic cargo, which, in accordance with the law, is not subject to control.

Read also: Ukrainian diplomat's husband detained when smuggling cigarettes

On Monday, May 23, Head of Zakarpattia Regional State Administration Hennadiy Moskal said that they detained a Volkswagen Transporter minibus with a cargo of smuggled cigarettes belongs to the Embassy of Ukraine in Slovakia, and its driver is "a resident of Kyiv, Serhiy Lischyshyn, who is the husband of the first secretary of the Ukrainian Embassy in Slovakia." When customs officers suspecting that the van was carrying contraband, began to insist on the inspection, Lischyshyn expressed his outrage and started threatening to call the consul.

"Customs officers contacted the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and after obtaining a permit the inspection of the minibus revealed 5,685 cartons of cigarettes worth UAH 620,000," Moskal's press office quoted him as saying.

Moskal said the smuggler presented the customs and border guards "a diplomatic passport and a letter signed by his wife", according to which the minibus was transporting diplomatic cargo on May 21-24 and was not subject to control. "

Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Vadym Prystaiko said that the Foreign Ministry did not issue any permit for shipment of diplomatic cargo or mail to the husband of the first secretary of the Ukrainian Embassy in Slovakia, Oksana Lischyshyn.

The deputy minister said that the Foreign Ministry expected to receive a copy of the letter signed by the first secretary of the Ukrainian Embassy in Slovakia, the existence of which was earlier reported by Head of Zakarpattia Regional State Administration Hennadiy Moskal.

According to Prystaiko, the ambassador of Ukraine to Slovakia was aware of the incident on the border, but as of Saturday he knew nothing about the existence of the letter.

Read also: PGO opened case on abuse of office against Ukrainian diplomats

On May 24, the Foreign Ministry confirmed that they recalled the first secretary of the Ukrainian Embassy in Slovakia Oksana Lischyshyn. On May 25, the investigation department of the prosecutor's office of Zakarpattia region said it launched criminal proceedings into the abuse of office and forgery of document by employees of the Ukrainian Embassy in Slovakia.

Havashi, born in 1958, headed Zakarpattia Regional State Administration from October 2005 to March 2010. He was member of Zakarpattia Regional Council of the fourth convocation. Fro September 2010, he served as ambassador of Ukraine to Slovakia.
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